Our People - Thurston Marmaduke Halliwell
Halliwell Crescent, Hutton
Image (C) Charles O'Donnell.
K/44011(Dev) Stoker 2nd Class Thurston Marmaduke Halliwell
Royal Navy - H.M.S. Arbutus
Died 15 September 1917, Aged 18
His body not recovered for burial. He is remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial Panel 22
Hutton - Village Hall Memorial
Hutton - Street Name Memorials
Longton, St.Andrews WW1 Plaque
1914 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
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Thurston Marmaduke Halliwell was born 27 June 1899 to Henry Halliwell and Mary Ellen Halliwell. Henry was a stoker and planer in the black trade and was born in Preston. Mary Ellen was also born in Preston.
He had nine other siblings who survived to adulthood, the eldest, Thomas was 19 in 1901 and his occupation was cotton weaver. The others were Margaret, 16 in 1901, Ethel, 13 in 1901, Harry, 11 in 1901, Mary, 10 in 1901, John, 9 in 1901 and occupation Cotton Creeler in 1911, William, 6 in 1901, James Gilbert, 9 and a schoolboy in 1911 and Elsie, 4 in 1901 and a Cotton Spinners Doffer in 1911. All his siblings were natives of Preston.
In all, Henry and Mary Ellen had 15 children (according to the 1911 census), 10 of whom had survived. At the time of the 1911 census they had been married 29 years. The four of the five children of Henry and Mary Ellen who died I have found listed on an Ancestry members tree as Thomas (1878-1878), Mary Alice (1879-1880), Ellen (1886-1886) and Edith Ann (1893-1893). The fifth remains a mystery. There is another Thurston Marmaduke Halliwell in the records, born in 1919 and who died in 1973 – Thurston’s nephew by his brother Henry, who named his fourth child after his brother.
According to his service record, Thurston signed up for the duration of hostilities. He is described as being 5 feet 6 inches tall with a 35 inch chest. His eyes were Grey, hair brown and complexion fresh.
He had been with H.M.S. Arbutus since 27 October 1917, prior to which he had served aboard H.M.S. Vivid II. Thurston was awarded the Star, Victory Medal and the British War Medal. He was killed as the result of enemy action when his ship H.M.S. Arbutus was torpedoed when on patrol in very rough weather in St.George's channel by the German submarine UB-65. His father Henry was notified of his death at his address of 5, Oxhays St., Preston, Lancs. See below for full details of the incident.
Commander Charles Herbert Oxlade, Skipper of HMS Arbutus
The sinking of H.M.S. Arbutus
There were nine casualties in all in this incident. It appears from the official record that 6 men died when the first torpedo hit 15 December 1917 and then the two officers died in the early hours of 16 December when they went back aboard and the boat was torpedoed for the second time. The only man to have been recovered, Walter Willie John Rowley, died 17 December either of wounds or of exposure. Thurston Marmaduke Halliwell was one of the ratings on board who were killed.
The British Navy sloop HMS Arbutus, acting as a special service vessel, was torpedoed by German submarine UB-65 (commanded by Kapitänleutnant Martin Schelle) in St. George´s Channel in very rough weather on 16 December 1917. The sloop, which was under command of Cdr. Charles H. Oxlade, R.D., R.N.R., carried a complement of 93. Had the weather moderated it is possible that the vessel might have been saved. She foundered with the loss of Commander Oxlade and another officer and seven ratings.
[Note: A “Special Service” vessel was one operating as a “Q” ship used as a decoy to lure Uboats into attacking what seems defenceless vessels. Either her disguise was seen through or the Uboat simply didn’t want to surface in the Bristol Channel. Despite the torpedoing, reports indicate that the vessel could have been saved in less stormy conditions. Only 9 of her crew died, 86 survived].
The sloop sailed from Milford Haven 14 December to carry out a patrol between the Tuskar Rock and the Smalls Lighthouse following several reports of submarine activity in the area. At 3.30pm on 15 December a submarine was sighted on the surface on the starboard bow, which dived as the sloop approached.
Thirty minutes later she was struck by a torpedo on the port side abreast the after boiler room. The explosion killed several stokers and injured several others; the engines were put out of action and the boiler room started to fill with water. A periscope was briefly sighted astern and a depth charge was dropped, but to no obvious effect. The ship took a ten degree list to port but remained afloat.
The US destroyer USS O'Brien (DD.51) closed and lifted off most of the crew, leaving the captain, Commander Charles Herbert Oxlade RNR and Lieutenant Charles Stewart RNR onboard. That complete, a tow was rigged and the O'Brien commenced towing the Arbutus until later that night the tugs Francis Bailey and Margaret Ham arrived to take over towing. At 02.55 the crews of the tugs heard an explosion and the Arbutus disappeared, the Margaret Ham having to hastily slip to tow to avoid being capsized as the sloop sank. A search revealed only a patch of wreckage. It was believed that she had been torpedoed for a second time. Her attacker had been the UB-65. The position was then 51.38N 05.24W. In all two officers and seven men lost their lives.
T.M. Halliwell on the Plymouth Naval Memorial
Image courtesy of Kat Fowler of the Facebook Great War Forum
Full casualty list
Commander Charles Herbert Oxlade - Royal Naval Reserve - Plymouth Naval Memorial Panel 23. Awards: R.D.
The information that follows on Cm. Oxlade is from ‘Find a Grave’, and was submitted by ‘Cousins by the Dozens’:
He was appointed Sub-Lieutenant on 7 August 1900 and Lieut. RNR on 12 February 1904. On 25 October 1913 he had obtained his Aviator’s Certificate, flying a EAC biplane from Eastbourne. At some point he had been in charge of a ship called the Patia, there is reference to a HMS Patia that was sunk in 1918, but I have not found anything much about it. In his will he left £1231 7s 1d to his brother RAGO. Lieutenant Commander, Royal Navy, R.D. (Royal Naval Reserve Officer’s Decoration). Name on Plymouth Naval Memorial. Prior to that, he had joined the South African Light Horse in Pietermaritzburg, November 1901, Trooper No. 2743, fighting in the Boer War. See his letters back home and the announcement of his promotion to Sub-Lieutenant 28 August, effective 7 August 1900, London Gazette and again 12 February 1904 when promoted to Lieutenant.
Lieutenant Charles Stewart - Royal Naval Reserve - Plymouth Naval Memorial Panel 23. Died 15 December 1917.
Petty Officer Stoker John Croskery K/10685 (Po.) - Royal Navy - Portsmouth Naval Memorial Panel 26. Died 15 December 1917. He was 25 years old. Son of William and Elizabeth Croskery, of Church St., Portaferry, Co. Down. Born 28 February 1892 in Portaferry, County Down, Ireland. Listed as ‘Killed or died as a direct result of enemy action’. His body was not recovered for burial. His mother was notified of his death: Elizabeth, Church Street, Portaferry, Co. Down, Ireland.
Petty Officer Stoker Samuel Bunker K/8481 (Dev.) - Royal Navy - Plymouth Naval Memorial Panel 22. Died 15 December 1917. He was 23 years old. Son of Mary Ann McCarthy (formerly Bunker), of 5, Cleremont Place, Plymouth. Born 5 June 1892 in Totnes, Devon, England. Listed as ‘Killed or died as a direct result of enemy action’. His body was not recovered for burial. His mother was notified of his death: Mary Ann 5, Claremont Place, North Road Plymouth.
Stoker 1st Class George Jones K/37147 (Dev.) - Royal Navy - Plymouth Naval Memorial Panel 22. Died 15 December 1917. Born 1 October 1897, Cardiff, Glamorgan. Listed as ‘Killed or died as a direct result of enemy action’. His body was not recovered for burial. His mother was notified of his death: Susannah of 3, Havelock Street, Cardiff, Glamorgan.
Stoker George Charles Pickett 8599S (Dev.) - Royal Naval Reserve - Plymouth Naval Memorial Panel 24. Died 15 December 1917. He was 20 years old. Son of Thomas and Mary L. Pickett, of 27, Well St., Hafod, Swansea. Born 3 July 1897 in Swansea. Listed as ‘Killed or died as a direct result of enemy action’. His body was not recovered for burial. His mother was notified of his death: Mary L., 27 Well Street, Nr. Hafod, Swansea, Glamorgan.
Stoker 2nd Class William Lewes Phillips K/41986 (Dev.) - Royal Navy - Plymouth Naval Memorial Panel 22. Died 15 December 1917. He was 19 years old. Son of Wm. and Margaret Phillips of 70, Rockingham Terrace, Briton Ferry, Glamorgan. Born 7 August 1898 in Briton Ferry, Glamorgan. Listed as ‘Killed or died as a direct result of enemy action’. His body was not recovered for burial. His mother was notified of his death: Margaret, 70, Rockingham Road, Briton Ferry, South Wales.
Stoker 2nd Class Thurston Marmaduke Halliwell K/44011 (Dev.) - Royal Navy - Plymouth Naval Memorial Panel 22. Died 15 December 1917. He was 18 years old. Son of Ellen Halliwell, of 105. Plungington Rd., Preston, and the late Henry Halliwell. Born 27 June 1899 in Preston. Listed as ‘Killed or died as a direct result of enemy action’. His body was not recovered for burial. His father was notified of his death: Henry, 5, Oxhays St., Preston, Lancs.
Painter 2nd Class Walter Willie John Rowley M/20724 (Dev.) - Royal Navy - Plymouth (Ford Park) Cemetery Ref. General H/B. 26. 32. Died 17 December 1917. He was 22 years old. Born 27 January 1895 in Plymouth, Devon, England. Listed as ‘Killed or died as a direct result of enemy action’. His mother was notified of his death: Emily 41 Claremont Street Plymouth.
Please email the project with any amendments or corrections
Edited 28 December 2016
T.M. Halliwell service record from National Archives - ADM 188/955/44011 / Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll 1914-1919 via Ancestry.co.uk / 1901 Census of England via Ancestry.co.uk / 1911 Census of England via Ancestry.co.uk / Waldron WW1 Rolls of Honour, Sussex History Forum / Find a Grave / Commonwealth War Graves Commission / Western Front Association – Lancashire North Branch – Despatch Issue 13: May 2014 / Original material provided by the nephew of Thurston Marmaduke Halliwell, Bill Martindale