Cornelius Smith

Village memories: London Road, Loudwater (picture from SWOP website)

Leading Seaman Cornelius Smith

Leading Seaman 238881 Royal Navy Torpedo Boat 11
Killed in action on 7th March 1916 aged 25
Remembered with Honour at Chatham Naval Memorial
Panel reference 15

Leading Seaman Cornelius Smith was born in 1890 in Flackwell Heath and by the start of the war the large family was living at Blackbird Yard, Loudwater, just behind the White Blackbird pub. Cornelius joined the Royal Navy aged only 16 in 1906 and did his training at the HMS Ganges shore based establishment. Four other brothers were also in the armed forces, one of them in the Royal Navy. Cornelius was initially on board the battleship HMS Agamemnon and later attached to HM Torpedo Boat 11:

By 1916 the Germans had decided that they would attempt to starve the UK into submission by blockading our supply ships with their U-Boats. At home this led to the introduction of rationing and 'grow your own' campaigns. As you can see from the picture, the WWI torpedo boats were not as sleek and fast looking as the later MTBs. Their main job was to harass the U-Boats but in an unfortunate reversal of fortunes, HM Torpedo Boat 11 struck a mine laid by a U-Boat in the North Sea and sunk on 7th March 1916 with the loss of 23 crew including Cornelius at the age of 25. He is remembered with honour at the Chatham Naval Memorial. As a result of the continued success of the U-Boats in destroying our supplies the Admiralty decided to introduce the convoy system for our merchant shipping.

Information taken from the Buckinghamshire Remembers website:
Name Cornelius SMITH
Rank/Number Leading Seaman 238881
Regiment Royal Navy HMTB No 11
Age/Date of death 25 07 Mar 1916
How died/Theatre of war Died at sea
Last known address White Blackbird Yard, Loudwater
Cemetery Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent
Grave or Memorial Reference 15
Location of memorial Loudwater
Date/Place of birth 09 Apr 1890 Flackwell Heath
Date/Place of baptism 28 May 1890 F'well Heath Wesleyan
Pre-war occupation of Casualty seaman
Parents John & Emma (nee Martin) Smith
Parent's occupation hay & straw binder
Parents’ Address (last known) Blackbird Yard, Loudwater
Wife’s Address (last known)
Notes Died in North Sea when Torpedo Boat No 11 was mined. Worked as blacksmith for Fraser & Why, High Wycombe. Cousin of Sidney Bates of Wheeler End

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