William Arthur Barfoot

Date of birth: 25th July 1878
Place of birth: Whites Road, Bitterne, Southampton
Regiment / Division: Royal Navy
Vessel: HMS Bulwark
Rank / Service No: Chief Cook, PO/286832
Died: 26th November 1914, aged 36 years
Commemorated: Portsmouth Naval Memorial


William was the fourth of 11 siblings born to Levi and Eliza Jane Barfoot (nee Spranklin), who married in Southampton on 20 March 1872.


Eliza was born in Dorchester in 1850 and she passed away in Southampton on 28 May 1900.

Levi was born in Hedge End on 27 August 1847. After Eliza’s passing, he married Emily Monk in Southampton on 19 March 1914.


Emily was born in 1851 and she, unfortunately, passed away in 1919.


Levi died in Southampton in 1933.



Cecil   b. 1873 Millbrook   d. 15 April 1892 Chilworth

Henry Charles   b. 1875 Shirley   d. 1948 Wandsworth   Married Jessie Thompson in Bournemouth in 1897.

Gertrude Leah   b. 1877 Shirley   d. 1947 Southampton   Married Albert Robert Beeden in Southampton in 1903.

William Arthur

Lewis Percy   b. 25 May 1880 Bitterne   d. 1922 Bournemouth   Married Florence Martin in Chelsea on 19 April 1908.

Richard Spranklin   b. 22 October 1881 Bitterne   d. 1919 Richmond, Surrey   Married May C. Chappelle in Dover in 1915.

Leah Gertrude   b. 6 August 1883 Bitterne   d. 1966 Shardlow, Derbyshire   Married Horace Barker in Tonbridge in 1910.

Vida Annie   b. 3 September 1885 Bitterne   d. 1979 Southampton   Married Walter C. Vincent in Southampton in 1907.

Charles Rowland   b. 3 April 1887 Bitterne   d. 1889 Chilworth

Florence ELSIE   b. 26 November 1888 Chilworth   d. 1978 Southampton   Married William Leonard Ewins in Southampton in 1908.

Sidney George   b. 26 July 1891 Chilworth   d. 1979 Southampton   Married Lily J. Taylor in Southampton in 1919.

Wallace   b. 12 April 1892 Chilworth   d. 1934 Southampton


Bulwark was a London class battleship, which entered service with the RN in 1902. she sailed with the Mediterranean fleet until 1907 before coming home to home waters.

In 1912, the vessel was refitted and immediately became part of the 5th Battle Squadron. At the outbreak of war, the Squadron was attached to the Channel Fleet, patrolling the English Channel.

On 26 November, when anchored off Sheerness, a “large internal explosion” destroyed the vessel, killing 736 men.


8 of the fourteen survivors died later in hospital, between November 1914 and January 1918.


After an exhaustive enquiry it was decided that the explosion was caused by over-heating cordite charges that had been placed adjacent to a boiler room bulkhead.


Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 22nd November 2016


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