William James Pennicott

Date of birth: 17th August 1893
Place of birth: Shirley, Southampton
Service No.: SS / 111732
Rank: Stoker 1st Class
Regiment / Division: Royal Navy
Battalion: HMS Queen Mary
Died: 31st May 1916 aged 22 years
Death location: Jutland, off the coast of Denmark


Life before the War
William Pennicott first appears on the 1901 Census, aged 7 living at 25 Pound Street, Shirley, Southampton with his parents, James Henry Pennicott aged 32, who was listed as a General Labourer, and Sarah E Pennicott who was 34.  At that time he was the only son of the family with four sisters, Ada, Emma, Kate and Violet.

By 1911, when William was aged 17 and the family had moved to 19 Crown Street, Shirley, the family had expanded to include two more boys, James and Albert, and two more girls, Caroline and Beatrice.  At this time William’s occupation was given as Under-Gardener.

Military Service
William served on the battle cruiser HMS Queen Mary as a Stoker 1st class.   He died during the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916 when the Queen Mary came under fire simultaneously from two ships of the German navy, the Derfflinger and the Seydlitz.  She fought bravely but eventually her magazine exploded and the ship sank with the loss of over 1200 men.

William’s body, along with those of his comrades, has never been recovered and the Queen Mary still rests on the bed of the North Sea.

William James Pennicott is listed on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial on Southsea Common.


Researcher: Mandy Shearing
Published.: 23rd May 2014
Updated: Insert dates here

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