William Charles Cutler

Date of birth: 1884
Place of birth: Southampton
Date of marriage: 1908
Place of marriage: South Stoneham, Hampshire
Service No.: M/5100
Rank: Engine Room Artificer 4th Class, RN
Regiment / Division: HMS Good Hope
Died: Sunday 1st November 1914 aged 30 years
Death location: At sea in the Battle of Coronel, Chile

Before the War
William Charles Cutler was born in 1884, the second child of Charles Cutler (born c. 1844 in Lymington) and his wife Emma (maiden name not known; born c. 1849 in Lymington).  Charles Cutler was an Iron Foundry Labourer living in Church Street, St Marys.  William’s siblings were:

Eva Ella            b. 1882 in Southampton, d. 1927. Married George Robert Attwood (1882 to 1917) in 1906 and then to Walter J Allen in 1921.

Tom Henry        b. 1887 in Southampton, d. 1947. Married Lena Emily Hinks (1894 to 1958) in 1914.

In 1908 William married Clara Mears (b. 1884 and d. 1971) in South Stoneham.  On the 1911 census they were living at 1 Ashley Cottage, Ashtree Road, Bitterne Park with their son Reginald William Cutler, b.1909.  William had become a Boiler Rivetter which led to him becoming an Engine Room Artificer 4th Class aboard the HMS Good Hope at the Battle of Coronel during World War 1.

War Service
The HMS Good Hope was a Drake Class Armoured Cruiser built on the River Clyde and launched in 1901.  She had 43 coal fired Belleville boilers feeding 2 four cylinder triple expansion turbines and was taken out of reserve three months before World War 1.

Under the leadership of Sir Christopher Cradock’s Fourth Cruiser Squadron a team of reservists were hurriedly sent with other ships to prevent the German forces from interrupting established trade routes along the Chilean coast.  Having located Maximilian Graf von Spee’s German East Asiatic Squadron, Cradock decided not to wait as ordered for the back up of HMS Canopus (another troubled vessel dragged out of reserve) and went into battle in the stormy seas off Coronel, Chile.  Cradock was still expecting HMS Defence to arrive but this ship was given fresh instructions en route.

Cradock was determined to engage with the enemy and on the evening of Sunday 1st November 1914 set out to attack.  When the German forces responded the HMS Good Hope and HMS Monmouth were quickly set ablaze by enemy fire becoming easy targets in the dark.  HMS Good Hope continued to return fire but was ultimately lost at sea.

This was Britain’s first naval defeat for over 100 years.

The German population of Valparaiso welcomed Von Spee and his men of the Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Nürnberg, as heroes on Tuesday 3rd November 1914.  They would meet their fate on Tuesday 8th December 1914 at the Battle of the Falkland Islands.

William Charles Cutler is honoured on the Southampton Cenotaph, the Memorial Wall (as William Cutler), the De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour and upon the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

Additional Information
William’s widow Clara married Edward Monday in 1920 and they lived together at 117 Ashtree Road, Bitterne Park until about 1933.  Clara outlived her second husband and died in the New Forest registration district in 1971.

The Cutler family has continued to serve the people of Southampton.  William’s grandnephew (through sister Eva) Dorian ‘Dodge’ Attwood (1947 – 2011) was a former Mayor.  William’s grandniece (through brother Tom) Valerie Ferguson is part of the Friends of Southampton Old Cemetery team.

Researcher: Robert Whale
Published.: 17th April 2014
Updated: Insert dates here

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