Austin, Arthur Frederick (1888-1916)

Eldest son of Frederick and Alice Jane Austin born 6 December 1888

1891 Census Aged 2 living at Woolmer Green, Welwyn, Hatfield, Herts with his parents and three elder sisters. Father is an agricultural labourer.

1901 Census aged 12 living at Westland Road, Knebworth, Hitchen, Herts with his parents and 5 siblings, his two older sisters aren’t listed. His father is listed as a platelayer on the Great Northern Railway

1911 Census aged 22 HMS Caesar at Devonport. Private in Royal Marines Light Infantry



1912 Married Eliza Jane Cordingley (pictured above) on 25th December 1912 at St John’s Church, Chatham.

Military Career

Enlisted as Private CH/15717  Royal Marines Light Infantry: Chatham Division 14 January 1907 Recruit Depot Deal

In between spells at Chatham Depot he spent time on HMS Hannibal, Caesar, Formidable, Cressy, Aquarius and Conquest

5 feet 7 ½ inches tall, fresh complexion, dark brown hair, grey eyes. Trade – Coachman

Died 28 March 1916 Killed or died by means other than disease, accident or enemy action, His ship was HMS Conquest, death recorded as at Walton on the Naze.



Conquest, light cruiser, aboard ship’s boat, (listed as a whaler, although if this was the 27ft version, it seems too small for so many men), returning from shore leave, lost in snow storm and foundered, all drowned (42 in total)

From Hertford Mercury and Reformer 15 April 1916 –

LOCAL SOLDIER DROWNED – Private Arthur Frederick Austin aged 27, eldest son of Mr and Mrs F. Austin, Knebworth was drowned during the blizzard on March 28, owing to the capsizing of a cutter. He was returning from shore leave after seeing his wife. He and his comrades were being towed by a steam launch to join H.M.S. Conquest to which the deceased was attached when the sad disaster occurred. His overcoat is all that has been found at present. The painful event was a great shock to the family. Special mention was made of the disaster at both services at the Congregational Church, and special hymns “ A few more years shall roll” and “Brief life is here our portion” were sung at the morning service, and “Peace perfect peace” and “Now the day is over” at the evening services.

Buried in Chatham Cemetery, Maidstone Road, Chatham, Kent Grave P.P.55

Widow: Eliza Jane 211, Dale Street, Chatham, Kent

Sources sources

England & Wales, FreeBMD Birth Index, 1837-1915

England & Wales Christening Records, 1530-1906

1911 Census Class: RG14; Piece: 13027

The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Admiralty: Naval Casualties, Indexes, War Grave Rolls and Statistics Book, First World War.; Class: ADM 242; Piece: Piece 007; Piece Description: Piece 007 (1914 – 1919)

UK, Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914-1919

pre-World War 1 to 2008 – Casualty Lists of the Royal Navy and Dominion Navies

Researched & compiled by Don Kindell (c) 2008, all rights reserved

Find My Past sources

1891 Census Class: RG12; Piece: 1113; Folio: 98; Page: 21

1901 Census Class: RG13; Piece: 1299; Folio: 98; Page: 21

Hertford Mercury and Reformer 15 April 1916 Local World Limited/Trinity Mirror. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD

Other sources

De Caville Index

National Archives ADM 159 – Admiralty: Royal Marines: Registers of Service/125/15717

Royal Marines medal index cards, 1914-1920


Biography compiled by Sean Ryan

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