William George Cawte

Date of birth: 1880
Place of birth: Portsmouth
Regiment / Division: Royal Navy
Vessel: HMY Zaida
Rank / Service No: Able Seaman
Died: 17th August 1916, aged 36 years
Commemorated: Plymouth Naval Memorial


William was the third of 8 siblings born to William and Eliza A. Cawte (nee Scorey), who married in Fareham in 1876.

Eliza was born in Fareham in 1852 and she died in Portsmouth in 1904.

William was also born in Fareham, in 1851….he died in Portsmouth in 1925.


William George married Mary Jane Phillips in Portsmouth in 1901. Mary was born in Portsmouth in 1881 and she passed away in Southampton in 1939.

There is no 1911 Census information available for the couple, so it has been impossible to verify whether there were any children.


Mary remarried in 1917, in Southampton, to Amos H. King.



Emily CHARLOTTE   b. 1877 Portsmouth   d. 1953 Worthing   Married William Mark Cragg in Westbourne in 1898.

Annie   b. 1878 Portsmouth   d. 1933 Portsmouth   Married James Turner in Portsmouth in 1897.

William George 

Louisa Sarah   b. 1886 Portsmouth   d. 1914 Portsmouth Married Ernest Edward Gilham in Portsmouth in 1905.

Henry Albert   b. 1888 Portsmouth   d. 1968 Portsmouth   Married Annie Holdaway in Portsmouth in 1912.

James Alfred G.   b. 1890 Portsmouth   d. 1957 Portsmouth   Married Elizabeth Midlane in Portsmouth in 1915.

Bessie   b. 1893 Portsmouth   d. 1949 Portsmouth   Married Edward M. Haines in Portsmouth in 1916.

Charles   b. 1895   d. ?? Alive at 1911 Census…



William volunteered in August 1915, and served on “Ursula” before transferring to Zaida.

Zaida was working in the eastern Mediterranean when she was sunk by Turkish shore batteries.

13 crew were lost, with a further minimum of 5 being taken prisoner.


Rumours abound that Zaida was a “spy ship”, with a Captain Wooley of Military Intelligence one of the 13 lost.




Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 23rd June 2016


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