Born: 6th March 1884, Billericay, Essex.

Died: 22nd September 1914; age 30; Drowned in the North Sea when H.M.S.’Hogue’ was torpedoed and sunk.


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.



Northampton – Boy 2nd Class – 8th July 1901

Northampton – Boy 1st Class – 7th October 1901 – 21st October 1901

Cleopatra – Boy 1st Class – 22nd October 1901 – 20th December 1901

Pembroke – Boy 1st Class – 21st December – 1901 – 13th January 1902

Grafton – Boy 1st Class – 14th January 1902

Grafton – Ordinary Seaman – 6th March 1902

Grafton – Able Seaman – 18th May 1904 – 22nd August 1904 – 7 days in Cell

Grafton – Able Seaman – 30th August 1904 – 31st March 1905

Pembroke I – Able Seaman – 1st April 1905 – 23rd August 1905

Kent – Able Seaman – 24th August 1905 – 11th November 1907

Amphitrite – Able Seaman – 12th November 1907 – 24th December 1907

Pembroke – Able Seaman – 25th December 1907 – 17th February 1908

Cochrane – Able Seaman – 18th February 1908 – 31st March 1909

Berwick – Able Seaman – 1st April 1909

Berwick – Leading Seaman – 20th October 1910 – 15th May 1911

Pembroke – leading Seaman – 16th May 1911 – 4th March 1912

Africa – Leading Seaman – 5th March 1912 – 14th April 1914

Pembroke I – 15th April 1914

Pembroke I – 1st May 1914 – 28th July 1914

Hogue – 29th July 1914 – 22nd September 1914.


Character – Very Good.


Rank: Petty Officer; Service Number: 215836(ch)

Regiment: H.M.S. ‘Hogue’ Royal Navy.


Memorial Reference:


Chatham Naval Memorial,




Relatives Notified & Address: Hordle Street, Harwich, Essex.




1891   Dunmow Lane, Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire.


Reuben was 7 years old and living with his parents & siblings.

Edward May Sewell, 55, Dealer & Traveller,  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.


Reuben was 17 years old, a Worker – Iron Foundry. He was living with his parents & brothers.

Edward, 65, a Traveller in Patent Goods – own account.

Harriet, 47.

Mark, 18, a Milliner’s Light Porter.

Benjamin, 15, a Butcher.

Lionel Isaac Sewell, 13, a Worker at Toy Shop, born Waldringfield, Suffolk.

Decimus, 10.

Claude Frederick Sewell, 6, born Beaumont, Essex.


Reuben’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:

Robert Abbott

H.M.S Cressy

Able Seaman age 29

Alfred Edward Barber

H.M.S. ‘Aboukir’

Able Seaman age 32
Charles Valentine Garrod

H.M.S. ‘Aboukir’

Able Seaman age 32

Reuben John Sewell

H.M.S. ‘Hogue’

Petty Officer age 30

Charles Alfred Larking

H.M.S. ‘Cressy’

Able Seaman age 33

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