Family deaths plague sailors early childhood

Reprinted from The Packet, April 17, 2019
by Lester Green

(Click on images to enlarge)

Kenneth Peddle

Seaman Peddle entire naval career was spent serving overseas. He returned to Newfoundland for furlough in 1917. He spent his earlier years serving aboard the Armed Merchant Cruiser, HMS Virginian. Among the crew during this time period were six other seaman from the Southwest Arm area.

According to baptism record and his Newfoundland Royal Naval Reserve enlistment papers, Kenneth was born on July 7, 1893. He was the youngest son of Josiah and Mary Peddle of Hodge’s Cove.

He was burden at a young age by the shadow of death that was cast over his family. He suffered the loss of six of eight siblings by 1912. In addition, his father passed on December 1, 1908 followed two months later by his mother. He was the only son remaining, along with his younger sister, Alfreda who were living at home. Their older sister, Ethel was married to William Peddle of Hodge’s Cove.

It may have been Kenneth’s fellowship with William and other men from Hodge’s Cove that related stories of their times with the Royal Naval Reserve that provided the motivation for the 19 year-old to enlist with the Royal Naval Reserve.

Newfoundland Royal Naval Reserve engagement papers. Source TRPAD_GN 182.13

He signed his application for service with the HMS Calypso on November 12, 1912. He completed the required 28 days of training by the end of December. He did not return in 1913 but on January 24, 1914 he started training again and completed by March 23.

Records show that he received notification by Royal Proclamation on October 6, 1914 to report to the HMS Calypso for deployment overseas.

He travelled overseas, along with 314 other sailors, 10% of whom were from the Southwest Arm area of Trinity Bay. According to Seaman Archer Peddle of Hodge’s Cove, the HMS Franconia arrived in St. John’s harbour on the night of November 5 and sailed out through the narrows the next morning at 8:00 am, just after all sailors were mustered on the pier for a photo.

He arrived at Liverpool, England and was assigned to HMS Virginian, an Armed Merchant Cruiser based out of Liverpool a short time later. His ship and crew became part of the 10th Cruiser Squadron. Seven other seamen on the ship were also from the Southwest Arm area. They were all part of a crew that was responsible for enforcing the blockade against Germany and for patrolling the waters of the North Atlantic searching for enemy ships and U-boats.

Records from the Drill Register of Royal Naval Reserve. Source HMS Calypso Fonds (DAI)

All seven sailors served aboard this ship until they were transferred to HMS Pembroke I. Royal Naval logs of the HMS Virginian records that all Newfoundland Seaman were transferred at Swarbacks Minn, Scotland on November 25, 1916.

He was returned to the accounts of HMS Briton on May 25, 1917 and was granted leave to visit home. However, an article in the Evening Telegram entitled “Army and Navy Heroes” on April 14 suggest that he was returning from furlough and had arrived sometime earlier, likely with the other six sailors that arrived on January 10. After he completed his time at the HMS Briton, he was returned overseas to HMS Victory I where he remained for the next five months.

HMS Magpie. Source Great War Forum

In May of 1918, he was drafted to the HMS Magpie, a three-mast schooner built in 1889 but converted to a depot ship located at Southampton. He spent until January 5, 1919 serving from this depot ship and during this time period sailed on two ships, the HMS Rosebud, a hired drifter and HMS Kolby.

On February 9, 1919 he was assigned to the depot ship HMS Victory I and continued serving on the Rosebud until he was posted to HMS Vivid III. He received orders on April 12, 1919 that he was returning home to HMS Briton where he was demobilized on May 24, 1919.

He married Mary Jane Avery of Grates Cove and moved to Saint John, New Brunswick where he worked at a sugar factory. They both passed away and are buried in New Brunswick.