Born: 28th February 1885, Ipswich.
Died: 22nd September 1914; age 29; KiA with submarine in North Sea.
Enlistment Location: Chatham; Date: 21st August 1900; Occupation: Labourer. On turning 18 years on the 28th February 1903 – signed up for 12 years. Height at 18 years – 5ft 6ins, ruddy complexion, blue eyes & light brown hair.
Rank: Able Seaman; Service Number: 211311
Regiment: Royal Navy, H.M.S. ‘Cressy’.
Relatives Notified & Address: Son of the late Robert Abbott; husband of Alice Maud Mary Woods (formerly Abbott), of High House, Foxhall, Suffolk.
1891 26, Fore Hamlet, Ipswich.
Robert was 5 years old and living with his parents & sisters.
Robert James Henry Abbott, 30, a Sail Maker, born Ipswich.
Mary Ann Abbott (nee Chaplin), 28, born Claydon, Suffolk.
Mary Ann Abbott, 8, born Ipswich.
Eliza Abbott, 4, born Ipswich.
Alice Abbott, 2, born Ipswich.
1901 Harwich, Essex.
Robert was 16 years old, and a boy 2nd Class of the Royal Navy ‘Granges’ First Class Training Ship.
1911 The Dockyard, Chatham, Kent.
Robert was 26 years old, he was married and an Able Seaman of the Royal Navy ‘Afridi’ Torpedo Boat Destroyer – 1st Destroyer Flotilla.
On the 1911 census Robert’s wife, Alice was a Corset Machinist at a Corset Manufacturer, she was living with her parents at their home, 296, Cavendish Street, Ipswich with her daughter & sister.
In 1904, Robert married Alice Maud Mary Warren, 1877, St. Helen’s, Ipswich. They had 1 daughter:
Mary Constance Abbott, 1909, Holy Trinity, Ipswich.
Robert is also remembered on the war memorial at St. Clement’s Congregational Church, Ipswich.
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
Alfred Edward Barber
Able Seaman age 32
Charles Valentine Garrod
Able Seaman age 32
Reuben John Sewell
Petty Officer age 30
Charles Alfred Larking
Able Seaman age 33