William Henry Crook.

Date of birth:           1875Poppies
Place of Birth:         Southampton
Date of Marriage:   1896
Place of Marriage: Wiltshire
Division:                    Mercantile Marine
Rank:                          Fireman
Ship:                           H.M.H.S Asturias
Died:                          1917
Death Location:    Southampton

Life Before the War
William was born in January 1875 in Southampton, his parents were James and Ellen.  James was born in 1849 in Southampton and died in 1887.  Ellen (nee Turle) was born in 1855 in Southampton, dying in 1947.

William had 3 brothers and 3 sisters:

Walter b.1869
Annie b.1873
Ellen b.1877
Ernest b.1880
Ethel b.1885
Leonard b.1888

The census of 1881 shows that William was living at 29 Anglesea Terrace, Southampton, with his parents and siblings.  His father was Carman.

In the census of 1891 William was registered with his aunt in Brighton.

William married Anne Elisabeth, nee Hope (b.1871) in 1896 in Marlborough, Wiltshire.  They lived at 29 Anglesea Terrace, Southampton. They had one daughter Lily b.1899, and two sons, Ronald James b.1915  who died in 1996 and John Henry 1906.

In the census of 1901 William was living with his wife and daughter at 63 Melbourne Street, Southampton.

By the census of 1911 William was living with his wife and 2 children at 27 Anglesea Terrace Southampton.  William was employed as a Coal Porter.

Service History
William died of wounds on 4th April 1917 age 42.  He is buried at Old Hill Lane Cemetery, Southampton and remembered on the Southampton Cenotaph Wall.  He was awarded the Mercantile Medal.

H.M.S. Asturias was built in 1907 as a cruise ship on the Southampton to Buenos Aires run.  When war broke out she was requisitioned by the Admiralty, converted and operated as a hospital ship and made regular crossings to France; she also served in the Eastern Mediterranean during the Dardanelles Campaign returning wounded back to the United Kingdom.

In March 1917, after landing her wounded back to Avonmouth, she was attacked by a German Submarine and struck by a torpedoe which blew off her stern killing 35 of her crew.  It can be assumed that William sustained his wounds during this engagement.

The Asturias was declared a total loss.  Her hull was put to use as a floating ammunition store at Plymouth for the rest of the war.  Remarkably her hulk was repurchased by the Royal Mail Line in 1920 and rebuilt as a cruise liner.  She was renamed Arcadian and operated on cruising in the Mediterranean and West Indies until 1930, finally scrapped in 1933.

15 of her crew are buried in Southampton.

Researched by Shaun Connolly June 2014.

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