Joseph is not remembered on the war memorial at Christchurch Park.


Born: 28th November 1899, Ipswich.

Died: 17th September 1939, age: 39; MPK – H.M.S.’Courageous.’

Enlistment Location: Portsmouth, Hampshire; Occupation: Factory Lad. Height: 5ft 1ins, fresh complexion, brown eyes & dark brown hair. Signed up for 12 years – 28th November 1917.



Ganges – Boy II – 1st April 1915.

Ganges – Boy I – 16th July 1915 – 20th September 1915.

Monarch – Boy I – 21st September 1915.

Monarch – Ordinary Seaman – 28th March 1917.

Monarch – Able Seaman – 13th February 1919 – 31st March 1919.

King George V – Able Seaman – 1st April 1919 – 21st October 1919.

Victory I – 22nd October 1919 – 3rd November 1919.

Greenwich – Able Seaman – 4th November 1919 – 20th March 1920.

Victory I – Able Seaman – 21st March 1920 – 31st August 1921.

Malaya – Able Seaman – 1st September 1921 – 11th January 1922 – 7 days in cells.

Malaya – Able Seaman – 19th January 1922 – 12th June 1922.

Victory I – Able Seaman – 13th June 1922 – 21st August 1922.

Columbine – Able Seaman – 22nd August 1922 – 14th September 1924.

Victory I – Able Seaman – 15th September 1924 – 16th November 1926.

Tiger – Able Seaman – 17th November 1926 – 30th May 1928.

Victory – Able Seaman – 31st May 1928.


Rank: Able Seaman; Service Number: J 39778.

Regiment: Royal Navy, H.M.S. ‘Courageous.’


Memorial Reference:

Panel 33, Column 2.

Portsmouth Naval Memorial,



Relatives Notified & Address: Only son of Archer Harley & Hannah Sarah Coates. Nephew of Robert Isaac & Alice Margaret Welham (nee Coates), of 54, Rectory Road, Ipswich.




1901   Corinth Villa, Lee Road, Dovercourt, Essex.


Joseph was a year old and living with his parents & sister.

Archer Harley Coates, 27, a Marine Boiler Maker, born Ipswich.

Hannah Sarah Coates (nee Cracknell), 28, born Ipswich.

Rosa Margaret Coates, 4, born Ipswich.


1911   4, Halifax Cottages, Wherstead Road, Ipswich.


Joseph was 11 years old and living with his widowed mother & siblings.

Hannah, 38.

Rosa, 14, a Day Girl – Domestic.

Dulcie Emily Coates, 9, born Harwich, Essex.

Dorothy Emma Coates, 3, born Ipswich.

Edna May Coates, 1, born Ipswich.


In October, 1910, Joseph’s father, Archer Harley Coates was admitted into the Asylum Hospital. He died at the hospital, November 1910.

17th September 1939 – H.M.S. ‘Courageous.’

Built as a battle cruiser in 1916, for the First World War, by W.G. Armstrong & Whitworth Co. Ltd., of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. In 1926, Courageous was reconstructed by the Admiralty to an aircraft carrier. On the 3rd September 1939, Courageous left Plymouth for an anti-submarine patrol, escorted by four destroyers – H.M.S. ‘Inglefield’ H.M.S.’Ivanhoe’ H.M.S.’Impulsive’ and H.M.S.’Intripid.’

On the 17th September, Courageous had reached the south west coast of Ireland. At 14:45, a wireless distress call was received. Two of her escorts left to help the British steam merchant ship ‘Kafaristan.’ Leaving ‘Courageous’ dangerously exposed.

The patrol was unaware of the German U-Boat U-29 (Otto Schuhart). Courageous turned into the wind, she presented her huge profile to the enemy. Three torpedoes were fired at her – two struck her port side. Courageous capsized and sank quickly, with the loss of 515 crew, including Captain William TofieldMakein-Jomes, R.N.

H.M.S. Courageous was the first British war ship to be sunk. Soon after the policy of using aircraft carriers for Air/Sea search and destroy patrols was abandoned.

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