Born: 6th March 1884, Billericay, Essex.
Died: 22nd September 1914; age 30; KiA with submarine in the North Sea.
Enlistment Details: Location: Chatham; Occupation: Labourer. Signed up for 12 years – 6th March 1902. Height: 5ft 5ins – height at 18 years – 5ft 6 ins, fresh complexion, brown eyes & brown hair. Red spot on back of neck.
Rank: Petty Officer; Service Number: 215836(ch)
Regiment: H.M.S. ‘Hogue’ Royal Navy.
Relatives Notified & Address: Hordle Street, Harwich, Essex.
1891 Dunmow Lane, Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire.
Rueben was 7 years old and living with his parents & siblings.
Edward May Sewell, Dealer & Traveller, 55, born Halstead, Essex.
Harriet Sarah Sewell, 37, born Haverhill, Suffolk.
Maud D. Sewell, 16, born Romford, Essex.
Arthur S. W. Sewell, 14, born Essex.
Bertie Charles Sewell, 13, born Romford, Essex.
Rhoda Susannah Sewell, 10, born Romford, Essex.
Mark Luke Sewell, 8, born Billericay, Essex.
Benjamin Leonard Sewell, 5, born Vange, Essex.
Decimus Reginald Sewell, 8 months, born Syleham, Suffolk.
1901 24, Gibbons Street, Ipswich.
Rueben was 17 years old, a Worker – Iron Foundry. He was living with his parents & brothers.
Edward, 65, a Traveller in Patent Goods – own account.
Mark, 18, a Milliner’s Light Porter.
Benjamin, 15, a Butcher.
Lionel Isaac Sewell, 13, a Worker at Toy Shop, born Waldringfield, Suffolk.
Claude Frederick Sewell, 6, born Beaumont, Essex.
Rueben’s father changed his name to Edward May Sewell from Percy May Sewell after a bigamy case at the Old Bailey, 1871.
22nd September 1914
The three ships Cressy Abourkir and the Hogue were on patrol without an escort seeking shelter from bad weather off Ostend steaming 2,000 yards apart at 10 nots. German U-boat U-9 commanded by Kapitanleutnant Otto Weddigen spotted the ships and lined up for an attack U-9 fired one torpedo at 06:20 at Aboukir which struck her on the starboard side. She began listing and capsized around 06:55,
Hogue was struck by two torpedoes around 06:55 and capsized ten minutes after being torpedoed and sank at 07:15. HMS Cressy had spotted U-9 attempted to ram the submarine.U-9 fired two torpedoes from its stern tubes on making an escape from Cressy, but only one hit. U-9 had to manoeuvre to bring her bow around with her last torpedo and fired it at a range of about 550 yards at 07:30. The torpedo struck on the port side and ruptured several boilers, scalding to death the men in the compartment. HMS Cressy took on a heavy list and then capsized, sinking at 07:55. At 08:30 Small fishing craft Dutch and British trawlers picked up survivors 837 men were rescued and 62 officers. From the three ships it is estimated 1,397 enlisted men were lost, 560 of those lost were from HMS Cressy.
Ipswich men lost:
Able Seaman age 29
Able Seaman age 32
Charles Valentine Garrod
Able Seaman age 32
Reuben John Sewell
Petty Officer age 30
Able Seaman age 33