Ch. Armourer 340995 Frederick William COURT

Reason: Killed in Action - Lost at Sea (Drowned)
Place:   Broad Fourteens, The North Sea off Belgium
Date and age: 22 Sep 1914 | 42 yrs
     
CWGC Cemetery:   Chatham Royal Naval Memorial, Chatham, Kent
Grave:   Panel 6
SWFHS Memorial: Southam
Unit: HMS Aboukir
Regiment: Royal Navy
Awarded: British War & Victory Medals?
Enlisted: 29 Oct 1895 at Chatham
In Theatre:   28 Jul 1914
Service:   Served on various ships as a Blacksmith then Amourer
Born:   12 Jan 1874 at Alcome, Dunster, Somerset
 
Parents: Frederick George and Sylvia Court [nee Manners]
 
Wife:   Emily Sarah Court [nee Taylor]  
Marriage:   Apr Qtr 1905 at Exeter  
Marital Home:   Emily lived at The Gas House, Welsh Road, Southam  
Children:   Fred born 18 Aug 1914 at Southam  
1901 Address: HMS Goliath  
1911 Address: HMS Lancaster
 
1895 Occupation:
Blacksmith
1911 Occupation:   Chief Armourer  

CWGC Page for Chief Armourer Court

The Sinking of HMS Aboukir

On the morning of 22 September, Aboukir and her sisters, Cressy and Hogue, were on patrol without any escorting destroyers as they had been forced to seek shelter from bad weather.

U-9, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Otto Weddigen, had been ordered to attack British transports at Ostend, but had been forced to dive and take shelter from the storm. On surfacing, she spotted the British ships and moved to attack. She fired one torpedo at 06:20 at Aboukir that struck her on the starboard side; Captain John Drummond thought he had struck a mine and ordered the other two ships to close to transfer his wounded men. Aboukir quickly began listing and capsized around 06:55 despite counterflooding compartments on the opposite side to right her. By the time that Drummond ordered "abandon ship" only one boat was available because the others had either been smashed or could not be lowered as no steam was available to power the winches for the boats.

As Hogue approached her sinking sister, the ship's captain, Wilmot Nicholson, realized that it had been a submarine attack and signalled Cressy to look for a periscope although his ship continued to close on Aboukir as her crew threw overboard anything that would float to aid the survivors in the water. Having stopped and lowered all her boats, Hogue was struck by two torpedoes around 06:55. The sudden weight loss of the two torpedoes caused U-9 to broach the surface and Hogue's gunners opened fire without effect before the submarine could submerge again. The cruiser capsized about ten minutes after being torpedoed as all of her watertight doors had been open, and she sank at 07:15.

Cressy attempted to ram the submarine, but did not hit anything and resumed her rescue efforts until she too was torpedoed at 07:20. She too took on a heavy list and then capsized, before sinking at 07:55. Several Dutch ships began rescuing survivors at 08:30 and were joined by British fishing trawlers before Tyrwhitt and his ships arrived at 10:45. The combined total from all three ships was 837 men rescued and 62 officers and 1,397 enlisted men lost. Of these, Aboukir lost a total of 527 men.