Thursday, April 21, 2011

Another WWI casualty

I'm old enough to have grown up around a lot of people that were impacted by WWI. Last night I was doing some research on one of my great grandparents when up pops an e-mail.

Stewart Greig
son of Lyall and Jessie Stewart Greig of Dundee
Lance Corporal Royal Marine Light Infantry (CH/15295)
Killed, age 34, after HMS Hogue was sunk by U9 off the Dutch coast. 22/09/14
Commemorated on Chatham Naval Memorial.
Source: CWGC Casualty Details Data Base.

That's all it said.

Stewart's mother was sister to my gggrandfather John Kirkwood Stewart. At the moment they are the only two of the 9 siblings that I have done any research on. They had an older brother and the remaining 6 were younger. My dad grew up near his Stewart cousins.

So I took a wee detour, checked out the information and added a lot to it :) Here's some of it. has some information.

Greig, Stewart
register # 11266
division Royal Marine Light Infantry, Plymouth Division
when enlisted: 02 December 1901
date: 19 April 1881
catalogue ref: ADM 159/79
depart: Records of the Admiralty, Naval Forces, Royal Marine, Coastguard, and related bodies
series: Admiralty: Royal Marines: Registers of Service
piece: 10916-11464
image ref. 351/332

War was declared 4 August 1914
Stewart died 22 September 1914 in what I learned was a really famous incident (from the German perspective) at the time involving a German U9 boat and 3 ships, Aboukir, Hogue and Cressy.
Alan Coles wrote a book specifically about the incident "Three Before Breakfast"(1979).

There's a very sobering list of WWI Royal Navy and Dominion Navies casualties here (This is the September page.)

A concise write up on the event can be found at

After reading about the ships, nicknamed "The Live Bait Squadron" and the circumstances surrounding the incident "it was an accident waiting to happen", it's a sobering thought that it only took HMS Hogue 10-15 minutes to sink and that if zig-zag protocol had been stuck too maybe many of the deaths (abt. 1400) might have been avoided. Hogue was attempting to rescue survivors from Aboukir. (scroll down to the Cressy Class)
As usual it annoys me that memorials like Chatham Naval Memorial get vandalized. We need to be more respectful of those that fought to give us freedom Many were scared, young men with inadequate training, trying to do the best they could in horrible circumstances. (IMHO)

Lance Corporal Stewart S. Greig was added to the CNM Find a Grave Memorial on May 23 2006 (#14372098). A copy of the Memorial Register is kept in the Naval Chapel of Brompton Garrison Church, other copies are kept at Chatham Library.
"In honour of the Navy and to the abiding memory of these ranks and ratings of this port who laid down their lives in the defence of the Empire and have no other grave than the sea."

Gate photo courtesy of
It's somewhat ironic that for about 2 years (in the mid 1980's) I lived 40 miles NW of Chatham and at the time never knew anything about the memorial.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting post!

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