Photograph courtesy of Chris Spurling
Born: 23rd October 1882, Bramford, Suffolk.
Died: 22nd September 1914; age 33; KiA with submarine in North Sea.
Residence: 18, Beaconsfield Road, Ipswich.
Employed: at the Education Dept. – Ipswich Council.
Enlistment Location: Chatham; Signed up for 12 years on the 23rd October 1900; Occupation: Blacksmith’s Mate. Height: 5ft 6 3/8ins – height at 18 years old 5ft 7 1/4ins, fair complexion, grey eyes & dark brown hair. Tattoo – Pierced heart on right forearm.
Northampton – Boy 2nd Class – 15th January 1900
Curacoa – Boy 1st Class – 18th April 1900 – 17th July 1900
Pembroke I – Boy 1st Class – 18th July 1900 – 29th August 1900
Archer – Boy 1st Class – 30th August 1900
Archer – Ordinary Seaman – 23rd October 1900
Archer – Able Seaman – 1st July 1902 – 30th September 1902
Katoomba – Able Seaman – 1st October 1902 – 7th December 1903
Pembroke – Able Seaman – 8th December 1903 – 28th February 1905
Wildfire – Able Seaman – 1st March 1905 – 11th June 1905
Pembroke I – Able Seaman – 12th June 1905 – 14th August 1905
Dominion – Able Seaman – 15th August 1905 – 31st March 1907
Hannibal – Able Seaman – 1st April 1907 – 9th June 1907
Dominion – Able Seaman – 10th June 1907 – 1st June 1908
Pembroke I – Able Seaman – 2nd June 1908 – 24th June 1908
Agamemnon – Able Seaman – 25th June 1908 – 26th September 1910
Pembroke I – Able Seaman – 27th September 1910 – 24th April 1911
Africa – Able Seaman – 25th April 1911 – 4th March 1912
London – Able Seaman – 5th March 1912 – 8th September 1912
Pembroke I – Able Seaman – 9th September 1912 – 25th October 1912 – Character – Very Good.
Joined the Royal Fleet Reserve – 26th October 1912.
Cressy – 2nd August 1914 – 22nd September 1914.
Rank: Able Seaman; Service Number: 208699 (Ch).
Regiment: Royal Navy, H.M.S. ‘Cressy’.
Relatives Notified & Address: Son of George Edward Larking, of 67, Sirdar Road, Ipswich;
1891 40, Tyler Street, Ipswich.
Charles was 9 years old and living with his parents & siblings.
George Edward Larking, 43, a Horse Driver – Railway, born Ipswich.
Annie Larking (nee Dawson), 44, born Ipswich.
William Edward Larking, 14, an Errand Boy, born Bramford, Suffolk.
George Herbert Larking, 12, an Errand Boy, born Bramford.
Edwin Larking, 7, born Ipswich.
John Larking, 4, born Ipswich.
Mary Ann M. Larking, 2, born Ipswich.
In 1911, Medway, Kent, Charles married Lilian Gertrude Russell, born May 1889. They had 2 daughters:
Alice A.M. Larking, born 1911, Ipswich.
Violet M. Larking, born 1913, Ipswich.
The Suffolk Chronicle & Mercury announced Charles’s death on the 9th October 1914.
Sketch of the H.M.S. Cressy sinking, by Henry Reuterdahl.
In August 1914 Cressy was considered to be an outdated and slow cruiser. During the Battle of Heligoland Bight, Cressy was kept at a range (100 Nautical Miles) west and saw no action. But was used to transfer wounded & prisoners to the Naze.
On the morning of 22 September, Cressy and her sisters, Aboukir & Hogue, were on patrol without any escorting destroyers as these had been forced to seek shelter from bad weather. The three sisters were steaming in line abreast about 2,000 yards (1,800 m) apart at a speed of 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). They were not expecting submarine attack, but had lookouts posted and one gun manned on each side to attack any submarines sighted. The weather had moderated earlier that morning and Tyrwhitt was en route to reinforce the cruisers with eight destroyers. U-9, commanded by Kapitanleutnant Otto Weddigen, had been ordered to attack British transports at Ostend, but had been forced to dive and take shelter from the storm. On surfacing, she spotted the British ships and moved to attack. She fired one torpedo at 06:20 at Aboukir which struck her on the starboard side; the ship’s Captain thought he had struck a mine and ordered the other two ships to close to transfer his wounded men. Aboukir quickly began listing and capsized around 06:55. Hogue was struck by two torpedoes around 06:55. The sudden weight loss of the two torpedoes caused U-9 to broach the surface and Hogue’s gunners opened fire without effect before the submarine could submerge again. The cruiser capsized about ten minutes after being torpedoed and sank at 07:15. Cressy attempted to ram the submarine, but did not succeed and resumed her rescue efforts until she too was torpedoed at 07:20. Kapitanleutnant Otto Weddigen had fired two torpedoes from his stern tubes, 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 (500 m) at 07:30. The torpedo struck on the port side and ruptured several boilers, scalding the men in the compartment. As her sisters had done, Cressy took on a heavy list and then capsized before sinking at 07:55. Several Dutch ships began rescuing survivors at 08:30 and were joined by British fishing trawlers before Tyrwhitt and his ships arrived at 10:45. From all three ships 837 men were rescued and 62 officers and 1,397 enlisted men lost: 560 of those lost were from 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
Charles is also remembered on the war memorial under Education at the Town Hall, Ipswich.