Service no. M/1766
Cook’s Mate, Royal Navy, HMS Good Hope
Killed in action on 1 November 1914 at the Battle of Coronel off the coast of Chile, aged 23
Remembered at Portsmouth Naval Memorial
This identification was made by Chris Burge, who writes:
Albert Frank Spice was born on 9 March 1891 in Clapham, the third child of Albert and Julia Spice. The family were living in Larkhall Lane at the time. Albert’s father worked as a house painter and decorator and by 1901 there had been two further additions to the family at Larkhall Lane. But fortunes changed with the death of Albert’s father in 1905.
The 1911 Census shows Albert’s widowed mother Julia was employed at home as a sewing machinist doing piecework, and Albert’s sisters Florence and Elsie worked as cardboard box makers. A cousin of Albert’s mother was staying with them, together with a paying boarder. Five people where sharing five rooms at 133 Larkhall Lane, Clapham.
Albert was not to be found at the family home in 1911, he was in the Navy. Albert joined on 11 April 1910, as a 2nd Class Cook’s Mate and had progressed to Cook’s Mate in the intervening year. He served on HMS Dreadnought for two years and moved to HMS Ariadne in 1913 when he had passed for Leading Cook’s Mate. At the outbreak on the war, Albert had been on the armoured cruiser HMS Good Hope since 31 July 1914. Later that year, HMS Good Hope was part of the 4th Cruiser Squadron, which engaged the enemy off the coast of Chile on 1 November. Outnumbered and outgunned, the HMS Good Hope was lost with all hands, a total of 926 officers and ratings.
Albert’s mother and sisters were left to mourn his loss as the war dragged on with no end in sight. The creation of the Stockwell War Memorial offered them a lasting act of remembrance. It had been a long wait.