Thank you to the family members for the images and extra information.


Born: 16th March 1883, Castle Street, Woodbridge, Suffolk.

Died: 31st January 1918; age 34; Drowned through collision in North Sea. Served 13 years & 7 months.

Residence: 25, Union Street, Ipswich.

Occupation before joining up: Blacksmith’s Mate.


Enlistment Location: Chatham. Signed up for 12 years – 20th June 1904. Height: 5ft 10 ins, brown hair & hazel eyes.



Archeron – Stoker 2nd Class – 20th June 1904 – 14th December 1904

Pembroke II – Stoker 2nd Class – 15th December 1904 – 13th February 1905

Vindictive – Stoker 2nd Class – 14th February 1905

Vindictive – Stoker – 11th May 1905 – 20th November 1905

Encounter – Stoker – 21st November 1905

Encounter – Stoker 1st Class – 1st July 1906 – 31st December 1907

Dido – Stoker 1st Class – 1st January 1908 – 18th February 1908

Pembroke – Stoker 1st Class – 19th February 1908 – 30th March 1908

Minotaur – Stoker 1st Class – 31st March 1908 – 3rd January 1910

Pembroke I – Stoker 1st Class – 4th January 1910 – 17th August 1910

St. George – Stoker 1st Class 0 18th August 1910 – 30th April 1910

Tyne – Stoker 1st Class – 1st May 1910 – 25th February 1913

Pembroke II – Stoker 1st Class – 26th February 1913 – 28th February 1913

Bonaventure – Stoker 1st Class – 1st March 1913 – 14th April 1913

Dolphin – Stoker 1st Class – 15th April 1913 – 17th April 1913

Maidstone – Stoker 1st Class – 18th April 1913 – 23rd May 1913

Adamant – Stoker 1st Class – 1st July 1915

Adamant – Acting Leading Stoker – 1st July 1915 – 31st March 1916

Europa II – Acting Leading Stoker – 1st April 1916 – 30th June 1916

Dolphin – Acting Leading Stoker – 1st July 1916 – 31st December 1916

Fearless – K4 – Leading Stoker – 17th February 1917

Fearless – K4 – Stoker Petty Officer – 19th June 1917 – 31st January 1918.

Character – Very Good.


Rank: Stoker Petty Officer; Service Number: 306739

Regiment: Royal Navy, H.M. Submarine, ‘K.4.’


Medals Awarded: Victory, British War & Star + Distinguished Service Medal. Gazetted 5th November 1917.


Memorial Reference:


Chatham Naval Memorial,




Relatives Notified & Address: Son of William & Harriett Adams, of Ipswich; husband of Constance E. Adams, of 25, Union Street, St. Michael’s, Ipswich.




1891   60, Bramford Road, Ipswich.


Percy was 8 years old and living with his parents & siblings.

William Adams, 36, a Portmanteau Maker, born Bletchingley, Surrey.

Harriet Adams (nee Rumsey), 36, born Woodbridge, Suffolk.

William Alfred Adams, 10, born Woodbridge.

Margaret Harriet Adams, 5, born Woodbridge.

Albert Edward Adams, 3, born Woodbridge.

Agnes Elizabeth Adams, 1, born Woodbridge.


1901   60, Bramford Road, Ipswich.


Percy was 18 years old, a Blacksmith Labourer. He was living with his parents & siblings.

William, 46, a Portmanteau Maker.

Harriet, 46.

William, 20, a Coachbuilder.

Albert, 13.

Agnes, 11.

Thomas Arthur Adams, 7, born Ipswich.


1911   Lying at Saltash Tros, Devonport, Devonshire.


Percy was 28 years old, married, and a Stoker 1st Class, Royal Navy. On board Torpedo Boat No 34, Torpedo Boat First Class, 3rd Destroyer Flotilla.


Percy’s wife, Constance was living with her widowed mother Jane Cocker at home – 8, Union Street, Ipswich.

Constance Adams, 26.

Phyllis Adams, 8 months old.


On the 27th December 1909, at St. Michael’s Church, Ipswich, Percy married Constance Elizabeth Cocker, born July 1884, Ipswich daughter of James Cocker, a dock labourer, and Jane Caskwell Cocker (nee Rands), a stay worker – corset factory, of 8, Union Street, Ipswich.

Constance and Percy had two children:

Phyllis Constance Eugenie Adams, born July 1910, Ipswich.

Percival Walter William Adams, born September 1913, Ipswich.


Percy is also remembered on the war memorial at St. Michael’s Church, Ipswich.

Percy Walter Adams fam

Pictures and information: Mrs. Sally Long

Percy Walter Adams was born in Castle Street Woodbridge Suffolk on 16th March 1883 to William and Harriet Adams. He was one of six children. He moved to Bramford Road in Ipswich before he was 18 and became a Blacksmith’s labourer.

He enlisted in The Royal Navy on 20th June 1904, initially for 12 years service.

Percy’s service records state that he was 5 feet 10 inches tall with brown hair and hazel coloured eyes and that he had scars on his right forearm and in his left groin.

On 27th December 1909 he married Constance Elizabeth Cocker at the Parish Church of St Michael, Ipswich.

They lived in Union Street, Ipswich where they had 2 children, Phyllis and Percival.

During his naval career, Percy served on board:

HMS Acheron: Naval Base, Chatham

HMS Pembroke: Naval Barracks, Chatham

HMS Vindictive: Cruiser

HMS Encounter: Cruiser

HMS Dido: Cruiser

HMS Minotaur: Cruiser

HMS St George: Cruiser

HMS Tyne: Depot Ship for Torpedo Boat Destroyer

HMS Bonaventure: Depot Ship for Submarines

HMS Dolphin: Depot Ship for Submarines

HMS Maidstone: Depot Ship for Submarines

HM Submarine E.2.: Submarine

HMS Europa: Cruiser

HM Submarine K.4.: Submarine


Ratings held:Percy Walter Adams


Stoker 2nd class:           20th June 1904        

Stoker:                           11th May 1905        

Stoker 1st Class:            1st July 1906          

Acting Leading Stoker: 1st July 1915          

Leading Stoker:            17th February 1917

Stoker Petty Officer:  19th July 1917   

image from 1918 Chronical newspaper

Before the war, In the 1911 Census, he was on Torpedo boat No 34 at Saltash Devonport as a Stoker 1st class. His wife and 8 month old daughter were living back home in Union Street, Ipswich.


His Naval record documents “Good Character” and “Good Conduct” throughout his career.

World War 1

 Percy took part in submarine warfare in the Dardanelles Campaign of the First World War. British and French forces launched a fierce naval attack on Turkish forces hoping to take control of the strategically vital strait separating Europe from Asia. In 1915.

 Percy was serving on HM Submarine E2, under the command of Lieutenant Commander David de Beauvoir Stocks. E2 was sent to relieve HM Submarine E14, but on her way to the Dardanelles she became badly entangled in anti submarine nets, with a three and a half inch wire around the deck gun and conning tower. The crew desperately tried to dive to free the submarine but they came under heavy fire from the Turks using depth-bombs, which caused significant damage to the hull of the submarine. They managed to escape and continued on to make the planned rendezvous with HM Submarine E11 and to resupply her with ammunition.

The crew worked hard to repair their damaged boat and E2 again launched into action, successfully attacking enemy coastal steamers and dhows. On 21st August they torpedoed and sank a 1500 ton armed steamer in Artaki Bay and on 22nd August sank another steamer off Mudania Pier.

On 28th August E2 and E11 successfully bombarded Mudania railway station. One man’s bravery led to the loss of his life and the previous damage to the boat meant oil leaked into the drinking water so the crew were deprived of their fresh water supply, but they resolutely fought on.

Finally the crew found safety with the rest of the patrol. They had faced sustained enemy attack, but showed resilience, bravery and great courage in the face of immense danger.

The Allied submarine campaign in the Dardenelles was the one significant success of the Gallipoli Campaign, forcing the Ottoman Empire to abandon the Sea of Marmara as their main transport route.

Daily Sketch – Manchester Edition Monday October 25th 1915: Pg 8.

“Men the Turks Fear”

Percy Walter Adams pictured standing (far left) on HM Submarine E2

Percy Walter Adams sub

It was during this time serving on HM Submarine E2 that Percy was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal (D.S.M.)                    D.S.M. Medal number 2567


Announcement in the London Gazette


 Page 30363 – 30th OCTOBER 1917



Admiralty, 2nd November, 1917.

Honours for Services in Action with Enemy Submarines.

The KING (is) pleased to approve of the award of the following honours, decorations and medals to the under mentioned officers and men, in recognition of their services in submarines in enemy waters:

The Distinguished Service Medal

Sto. P.O. Percy Walter Adams, O.N.306739 (Ch.).

The D.S.M. was an award for bravery whilst on active service at sea for Royal Navy personnel, members of the other Services and other Commonwealth countries who held rank up to and including Chief Petty Officer.

Percy was promoted to Stoker Petty Officer and went on to join HMS Submarine K4 alongside Commander de Beauvoir Stocks.

Telegram sent to his wife asking that details be kept secret from the Enemy.

Percy Walter Adams doc (2)

The wreck of HM Submarine K4 is designated as a protected place under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986.

Percy is commemorated on Chatham Naval Memorial

His family were, and always will be, immensely proud of him.

“K” class submarine

In 2002 a memorial was unveiled to the two Submarines sunk off the Isle May, K4 & K17.

On the night of 31st January 1918 a column of submarines K4, K3, K12, K17 and K22

Running with radio silence with minimum of navigation lights they came across a mine sweeper trawler and a cruiser  HMS Fearless.  K22 took evasive action  jamming her rudder of the submarine which set off a number of collisions with the column. HMS Fearless struck K17 sinking her in 8 minutes with the loss of  9 men. K3 taking evasive action struck K4 instantly killing all of the crew. In total it was reported that 108 men were lost. The incident was not reported to the public until years later.

JACK GLANFIELD BROWN another Ipswich man was killed onboard K17

The memorial stands on the quayside opposite the Scottish fisheries museum Anstruther Fife in view of the Isle of May where the tragic incident to place. On the 31st January  2018 a service was held to mark the 100th anniversary.


K17 crew member.

One Comment

  • Percy was my Great Grandfather, his son, Percy, my Grandfather. I’ve just finished reading the K boats book and seeing this information, especially the photographs, has really helped me grasp how brave the man was. To say I’m proud is an understatement, I’m in complete awe, not just his bravery but the fact as a working class lad he earned the rank of Petty Officer.


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