William Bertram Othen

This photograph may have been taken just after William joined the Royal Navy.

This photograph may have been taken just after William joined the Royal Navy.

Date of birth: 14th August 1894
Place of birth: Southampton
Service No.: SS 112770 (Po)
Rank: Stoker 1st Class
Regiment / Division: Royal Navy
Battalion: HMS Queen Mary
Died: 31st May 1916 aged 21 years
Death location: At sea

 

 

Life before the War
William was born on 14th August 1894 Southampton.  His parents were William Thomas, born 1871 Portsmouth and died 1949 Southampton, and Eliza Dora, nee Hatch, born 1874 Southampton and died 1954.  William senior and Eliza married on 27th May 1894 in Southampton.  This photograph of Eliza was taken in Bournemouth in 1892 when she was 17 or 18 years old:

William's-mother-Eliza

 

William and Eliza had 8 children, the younger William’s siblings were:

Lilian Dora, aka Dora b.1896
Nellie Florence b.1898
Jennie Elizabeth b.1901
Arthur b.1903
Alice b.1905
Emma b.1908
George b.1910

In the 1901 census the family give their address as 44 Endle Street, St Mary’s Parish, Southampton where they rented two rooms.  William senior was working as a Stevedore.

The family had moved to 86 Pound Street, Shirley, Southampton by 1911.  William senior was employed by the London and South West Railway as a Stevedore.

A photograph taken when William was serving on HMS Albemarle.

A photograph taken when William was serving on HMS Albemarle.

War Service

Name: William Bertram Othen
Rank: Sto 1st
Birth Date and Place: 14 Aug 1894 Southampton, Hants
Branch of Service: Royal Navy
Cause of Death: Killed or died as a direct result of enemy action
Official number Port Division: S.S.112770. (Po)
Death date: 31 May 1916
Ship or Unit: HMS Queen Mary
Location of Grave: Not recorded
Name and Address of Cemetery: Body Not Recovered For Burial
Relatives Notified and Address: Mother: Dora;  86 Pound Street, Shirley, Southampton

 

William is Remembered with Honour on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Southsea Common, Hampshire.

Portsmouth Memorial Register
“Othen,  Sto. 1st Cl.  William Bertram, SS/112770.  R.N. H.M.S. “Queen Mary”.  Killed in action at Battle of Jutland 31st May 1916.  Age 21. Son of Mr. and Mrs. William Thomas Othen, of 86, Pound St., Shirley, Southampton”

Portsmouth Naval Memorial

Portsmouth Naval Memorial

National Roll of the Great War
“Othen, W.B., 1st Class Stoker, R.N.
He had served for eight years in the Navy previously to the outbreak of war, and was later engaged on various duties in the North Sea.  He lost his life on May 31st, 1916, when his ship, H.M.S. “Queen Mary” was sunk at the Battle of Jutland.  He was entitled to the 1914 – 1915 Star, and the General Service and Victory Medals.
86, Pound Street, Shirley, Southampton”

Historical Information – H.M.S. “Queen Mary”
Steaming in advance of Admiral Sir John Jellicoe’s Grand Fleet, Vice Admiral David Beatty’s battle cruisers, supported by the battleships of the 5th Battle Squadron, collided with Vice Admiral Franz Hipper‘s battle cruisers in the opening phases of the Battle of Jutland.  Engaging at 3:48 PM on May 31, the German fire proved accurate from the outset.  At 3:50 p.m., Queen Mary opened fire on S.M.S. Seydlitz with its forward turrets.  As Beatty closed the range, Queen Mary scored two hits on its opponent and disabled one of Seydlitz’s aft turrets. Around 4:15, H.M.S. Lion came under intense fire from Hipper’s ships.  The smoke from this obscured H.M.S. Princess Royal forcing S.M.S. Derfflinger to shift its fire to Queen Mary.  As this new enemy engaged, the British ship continued to trade hits with Seydlitz.

At 4:26 p.m., a shell from Derfflinger struck Queen Mary detonating one or both of its forward magazines.  The resulting explosion broke the battle cruiser in half near its foremast.  A second shell from Derfflinger may have hit further aft.  As the after part of the ship began to roll, it was rocked by large explosion before sinking.  Of Queen Mary’s crew, 1,266 were lost while only twenty were rescued.  Though Jutland resulted in a strategic victory for the British, it saw two battle cruisers, H.M.S. Indefatigable and Queen Mary, lost with nearly all hands.  An investigation into the losses led to changes in ammunition handling aboard British ships as the report showed that cordite handling practices may have contributed to the loss of the two battle cruisers.

HMS-Queen-Mary

 

Researcher: Becky Lonergan
Family photographs provided by Ken Tizzard, great grandson of Eliza and great nephew of William.
N.B. Please do not use photographs without permission. Use the Comments box below to contact us.
Published.: 13th August 2013
Updated: Insert dates here

 

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