Able Seaman (RFR/CH/B/5028), HMS India
Service no. 212125
Killed in action on 8 August 1915, aged 31
Remembered at Narvik Old Cemetery, Norway
Chris Burge writes:
Herbert Carey was born on 27 November 1883 in Holloway, north London, the third of Thomas George and Mary Carey’s five known children. Herbert was still living in Islington when he joined the Navy on his birthday in 1901. His occupation was recorded as ‘Engine Cleaner’ and Herbert was described as 5ft 11in tall, with brown hair, blue eyes and a fresh complexion. Advancement in the Navy was slow and Herbert was not rated as AB seaman until 1903. He served on several ships with HMS Pembroke being the last before he was placed on fleet reserve and left the service on 6 April 1908.
On 2 May 1909 Herbert Carey married Susan Ethel Parnell St Barnabas, South Lambeth. He gave his address as 43 Lansdowne Gardens, and described himself as a labourer. Susan Ethel was from Bristol but had lived in Lambeth for at least a decade before they married.
In the 1911 census, Herbert and Ethel were living in just two rooms at 46 Priory Road off the Wandsworth Road. Herbert worked as a printers warehouseman. Their daughter Irene Maud Carey was born at home on 12 May 1912.
As a naval reservist, Herbert Carey was called up at the outbreak of war, serving on the old cruiser HMS Sutlej from 2 August 1914 until part of a draft of 88 men that joined the crew of the HMS India on 8 April 1915. The total crew numbered 32 officers and 270 men. The India was an Armed Merchant Cruiser, an ex-passenger ship, part of the 10th Cruiser Squadron Northern Patrol safeguarding shipping between Britain and Norway.
Official reports stated: ‘While on duty intercepting and inspecting neutral shipping, HMS India was torpedoed by German submarine U22 near Helligvaer, Norway, on August 8, 1915. The ship broke in two and sank quickly.’
Some 160 men were lost, and those washed ashore were buried at Narvik Old Cemetery.
After the war, Susan Ethel lived at 290 South Lambeth Road with her brother Frederick and his wife until just before she died in 1938, aged 53. Her daughter Irene, died aged 80 in 1992.