William George Gannaway

Date of birth: 1884
Place of birth: Southampton
Regiment / Division: Royal Navy
Vessel: HMS Queen Mary
Rank / Service No: Engine Room Artificer, M/11951
Died: 31st May 1915, aged 31 years
Commemorated: Portsmouth Naval Memorial


William was the fifth of 9 siblings born to Thomas and Emma Gannaway (nee Hick), who married in Southampton in 1872.

Both parents were born in Southampton in 1852; Emma passed away in the city in 1910, Thomas in 1928.


The family lived in Hanover Terrace, which would be where Hanover Buildings in the city are now.



Emma Harriet   b. 1872 Southampton   d. 1894 Southampton

Lottie Louise   b. 1876 Southampton   d. ??   Married in 1904 in Southampton

Susan Mary   b. 1879 Southampton   d. 1957 Winchester

Thomas Charles   b. 1881 Southampton   d. 1953 Southampton   Married Maud C. Stride in Southampton in 1916.

William George 

Mabel Annie   b. 1887 Southampton   d. 1935 Southampton

Nathaniel Henry   b. 1890 Southampton   d. 1966 Winchester   Married Laura E. Williams in Southampton in 1913.

Ruby Ethel   b. 1892 Southampton   d. 1964 New Forest   Married Charles A. Steedman in Southampton in 1927.

Hazel Chrissie   b. 1895 Southampton   d. 1977 New Forest   Married Cecil R. Ebborn in Southampton in 1923.


The Queen Mary was the last battlecruiser built before the outbreak of WW1….she was completed in 1913.

She spent the early part of the war exclusively in the North Sea, as part of the 1st Battlecruiser Squadron.


The vessel had a refit in early 1915 and then participated in the Battle of Jutland in mid-1916. She was hit twice by the German battlecruiser Derflinger during the early exchanges of the battle.


As a result, her magazines exploded , sinking the ship. 1266 lives were lost, just 20 crew surviving.

The wreck was discovered in 1991 in the North Sea…it is a designated war grave.


Portsmouth Naval Memorial was unveiled by the Duke of York (future King George VI) on 15 October 1924. Similar memorials stand at Plymouth and Chatham.


The Portsmouth memorial was extended after WW2, and was unveiled by the Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, on 29 April 1953.


Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 28th July 2016


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