Image from 1917 Suffolk Chronicle & Mercury newspaper.

 Family photographs courtesy of John Warne


Born: 18th September 1899, St. Helen’s, Ipswich.

Died: 9th July 1917; age 17; Killed by internal explosion of vessel at Scapa Flow.

Enlistment Details: Location: Chatham; Date: 18th September 1917 – 12 years. Residence/Occupation: Training Ship Mount Edgecumbe, Saltash, Cornwall. Height: 5ft 0 1/2ins, fresh complexion, brown eyes & brown hair.


Impregnable – Boy II – 19th August 1915.

Impregnable – Boy I – 29th July 1915 – 9th September 1915.

Defiance – Boy I – 10th September 1915 – 6th October 1915.

Roxburgh – Boy I – 7th October 1915 – 7th August 1916.

Vanguard – Boy I – 8th August 1916 – 9th July 1917.


Rank: Boy 1st Class; Service Number: J.37401(Ch)

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


Memorial Reference:


Chatham Naval Memorial,




Relatives Notified & Address: Son of the late Moses & Harriet Warne; brother-in-law of Louisa, of 18, Evelyn Terrace, Kew Foot Road, Richmond, Surrey.






1901   12, Wells Street, Ipswich.


Willie was a year old and living with his parents & brothers.

Moses George Warne, 50, a Bricklayer’s Labourer, born Ipswich.

Harriet Eliza Warne (nee Brown), 43, born Tanners Lane, Ipswich.

Ernest Warne, 10, born St. Helen’s, Ipswich.

George Warne, 7, born St. Helen’s, Ipswich.


1911   7, Ernest Street, Ipswich.


Willie was 11 years old and living with his widowed mother & brother.

Harriet, 49.

George, 17, a Newsagents Assistant.

William with his family including his wounded brother George in 1916.

William is also remembered on the war memorial at St John the Divine, Richmond, Surrey. https://www.richmondteamministry.org/stjohn



 H.M.S. ‘Vanguard’

Henry Metcalf
Private RM
age 19

Arthur Palmer Athroll
Able Seaman
Age 21

John William Warne
Petty Officer
age 36

Images and information courtesy of Wendy Sadler

Henry Metcalf was my Great Uncle – my Grandmother’s younger brother

We have visited Scapa Flow twice on the anniversaries of the sinking of HMS Vanguard and hope to be going to the Centenary commemorations this year.

Centenary commemorations

It was attended by 40 descendants of the Vanguard crew, along with the civil diving team that carried out exclusive surveying of the wreckage, as well as taking some amazing photos and videos.
We were also supported by local historians who have done an amazing job tracing many descendants as well as helping to organise the event along side the Royal Navy, RNLI, the Navy Chaplain, Orkney Council and some crew members of the current HMS Submarine that carries the Vanguard name, who provided an outstanding honorary guard the whole weekend.
The service included a laying of personal wreaths at the Vanguard Buoy in Scapa Flow, then a visit to the War Cemetery on Hoy island.
It finished with an emotional night time service in St Magnus Cathedral at exactly the same time the explosion occurred on the Battleship -11:20pm.  A 2 minute silence was observed, and then the descendants were given the opportunity to view the Book of Commemoration and the Ensign flag that has been attached to the Vanguard, underwater, since 2009.

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