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Jutland - 100 years on - a survivor

Tomorrow as we remember all those lost in the Battle of Jutland let's also remember those who fought and survived, such as Frank Ernest Elkins. Frank was a stoker on HMS Tiger

Frank was born on 10 February 1896 in Dalston in North East London to parents Frank and Louisa. In 1901 the family lived at 8 Victoria Crescent, Tottenham. Ten years later on the 1911 census they were in a very different location: Withybrook Cottage, Sticklepath near Okehampton in Devon and Frank was working on a farm. Frank was still a farm labourer when he joined the Navy on 13th May 1914. His initial training was at HMS Vivid II, the Stokers and Engine Room Artificers School at Devonport.

Great pictures of stokers covered in coal dust

His first posting started on 3 October 1914 when he joined the brand new HMS Tiger as a Stoker 2nd class, within 3 months he had been promoted to Stoker 1st class. Frank served on Tiger until 6 January 1921. This means that he would have been present at the Battle of Dogger Bank on 24 January 1915 and Jutland on 31 May 1916.

For a blow by blow account of Tiger at the battle of Jutland visit the Dreadnought Project and while you read it remember Elkins and his pals down in the bowels of the ship working on the engines and shovelling coal, not knowing what is going on above and perhaps being able to hear/feel the percussions of shells hitting the ship.

After a year's training at Vivid II and Pembroke II he joined HMS Marlborough on 24 January 1922, serving on board her until 26 March 1924 when he joined HMS Cornflower, a minesweeping sloop. He was only on Cornflower for 6 months. Further training followed at Pembroke II and during this time he married Helene Maud Stoffel, the daughter of John and Bertha Stoffel of Ilford.

Between April and November 1925 Frank was Acting Leading Stoker on HMS Fitzroy, a survey vessel.

From 13 November 1925 to August 1926 he was back at Pembroke II until 19 August 1926 when he was posted to HMS Repulse, he served on board as Leading Stoker until 11 March 1928. After this his WWI Service record ends.

In July 1929 Frank received his Long Service Good Conduct medal. Later that year his first child was born.

However, Frank's medals clearly show that his service in the Navy continued into World War Two. His service record for WW2 is only available to his next of kin.

What do his medals tell us:

If there is anyone out there in internet-land who knows what happened to Frank during the Second World War I would be fascinated to know.

Frank died on 13 February 1960 at the London Hospital in Stepney and Helene died in 1977 on the Isle of Wight.

#jutland #elkins #royalnavy #31May1916

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