Published By John Davies
- Royal Navy
Ableseaman J/28071 Charles E (Ellis) Jones, Royal Navy ‘HMS Magic’. Enlisted Oct 1913 as Boy Sailor.
- Nelson Battalion Royal Navy Division.
The Royal Naval Division was formed in August 1914. The first draft were all ‘navy’ men in the RNVR who were surplus to ‘sea borne’ requirements – there were too many men for the ships. It was decided to create 2 naval brigades and a brigade of marines to operate as infantry units. The Division used naval ranks and insignia, they flew the White Ensign and maintained other ‘traditions of the service’. The battalions were named after former and historic admirals: Anson, Drake, Hawke, Hood, Howe and Nelson. They went over to France in September 1914 but were poorly prepared and severely under equipped. They were posted to Antwerp to assist in the defence of the city in the early months of the war. They only just managed to escape being trapped as the Germans advanced in the ‘race to the sea’– 1500 men had to flee to neutral Holland where they were interred. The depleted Division made it back to England where it was re-trained, re-equipped and re-formed and then served in Gallipoli until late in 1915. By this time most of the men were no longer ‘seamen’ but were new recruits or transfers from other units. The Division was also transferred to be under War Office or army control rather the Admiralty. It was moved to the Western Front in May 1916 where it remained until the end of the war.
- Hood Battalion, Royal Naval Division