William is remembered on the war memorial at Holy Trinity Church, Ipswich.


Born: 6th May 1899, St. Helen’s, Ipswich.

Died: 5th July 1940; age 41; by enemy action at sea.

Residence: 10, Alan Road, Ipswich.


Rank: Chief Petty Officer; Service Number: C/J 32354.

Regiment: Royal Navy, H.M.S.’Whirlwind.’


Memorial Reference:

34, 2.

Chatham Naval Memorial,




Relatives Notified & Address: Son of Robert James & Annie Emma Agnes Ralph; husband of Olive May Ralph, of Ipswich.




1901   49, Pottery Street, Ipswich.


William was a year old and living with his parents & siblings.

Robert James Ralph, 32, a Tent Maker, born Ipswich.

Annie Emma Agnes Ralph (nee Hazell (1st marriage Barker)), 36, born Ipswich.

Florence May Barker, 14, born Ipswich.

Lily Eva Ralph, 8, born Ipswich.

Robert James Ralph, 6, born Ipswich.


1911   42, Long Street, Ipswich.


William was 11 years old and living with his parents & siblings.

Robert, 43, a Tent Maker – Tent Manufacturer.

Annie, 46.

Lily, 18, a Tailoress – Mantle Makers.

Robert, 16, a Messenger – Jeweller.


William’s father, Robert James Ralph died January 1932, at 42, Long Street, Ipswich, his mother, Annie Emma Agnes Ralph died 1937, Ipswich.


At 18.26 hours on 5 July 1940, HMS Whirlwind (D 30) (LtCdr J.M. Rodgers, RN) was hit underneath the bridge by one G7e torpedo from U-34 about 120 miles west of Land’s End. The U-boat had spotted the destroyer at 15.30 hours and missed her with two torpedoes at 17.13 hours. The ship immediately lost her forepart while the rest remained afloat and was later scuttled by HMS Westcott (D 47) (LtCdr W.F.R. Segrave, RN) after picking up the survivors. 56 crew members were lost and one died of wounds the following day.

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