Private John Thomas Brideoake
CH/19588 Royal Marine Light Infantry
Killed in Action 9th July 1917,
at sea, aged 20
Lived at 21 Clive St.
Commemorated on the Chatham Memorial
Burnley Express 21st July 1917 - 21st July 1917 1917


The St Vincent class battleship HMS Vanguard was built at Barrow and completed in 1910.
She was one of the earlier descendants of the original Dreadnought and was a powerful warship to start with.
HMS Vanguard displaced nearly 20000 tons and was 536 feet long.
Her armament was substantial. It included 5 gun turrets each with two 12 inch guns, twelve 4 inch guns and three 18 inch torpedo tubes.
Her turbines were powerful. She spent much of her time in WW1 at Scapa Flow, with the odd sortie across the North Sea.
She saw action at Jutland, but came out without damage.
The Vanguard was the victim of an internal explosion in Scapa Flow just before midnight on 9th July 1917
Her magazine was detonated by unstable cordite and within seconds the battleship was annihilated together with 843 officers and men.
There were 3 survivors of the explosion - one of whom died of wounds and 97 crew members who were on leave also survived.
One of her 12 inch turrets was thrown over a mile to land in Flotta.
This appalling accident in some ways resembled the explosion that the cruiser HMS Natal suffered in Cromaty Firth in 1915.

John (Jack) had been in the Royal Marines since January 4th 1915. Up to New Years Day 1917, he had served in the Marine land forces. First in the Dardanelles,fighting on land, and was on the very last ship to leave Gallipoli.This was hit by a torpedo which didn't explode. He was afterwards for a short time at Mudros, but left last May for France. Owing to an attack of trench fever and rheumatism in October, he just missed the great attack by the Marines at Beaumont. He was at home five weeks, leaving just before Christmas, joining the Vanguard on New Years Day. He had always been desirous of being on a ship.He was an only son and was formerly an apprentice joiner at Messrs. Cooper Bros. Foundry. Five or six years ago the family emigrated to America but returned four years ago, leaving their one sister who qualified as a nurse and has recently joined the Red Cross section of the American Forces. The family have always been closely connected with Holy Trinity Church, and the unfortunate young mans mother was for many years secretary to the Mothers Class.

H.M.S. Vanguard was a 19,250 ton battleship of the St. Vincent class, carrying a complement of 769 officers and men. She was destroyed by an internal explosion at Scapa Flow at 2330 hrs. on the 9th of July 1917 with the loss on almost all of the ships company. There was a shocking explosion which rocked H.M.S. Collingwood which was alongside her and she sank in under two minutes with only 2 survivors, most of the casualties being other ranks as the officers had been attending a function on another ship. During the court of inquiry it was originally thought that the explosion may have been caused by defective cordite and as a result all the cordite in the fleet was replaced and more vigorous safety procedures instituted.
There was , however, reason to believe that the sinking of the Vanguard along with the Bulwark and Natal, may have been the work of an enemy agent. A dockyard worker had visited all three ships and had left the Vanguard at 17oo hrs., he was subse
quently arrested and later hanged.

A VANGUARD VICTIM
GAVE HIS LIFE TO A COMRADE
(Burnley Express 21/7/1917)

One of the local victims of Vanguard catastrophe on July 9 is Pte. (19588 C.H.) J.T. (“Jack”) Brideoake, whose parents live at 21, Clive-street Burnley, but who are best known as newsagents in Accrington-road for over 19 years. The loss of Pte. Brideoake’s life by the explosion which destroyed this Dreadnought is all the more tragic in that this was his first vessel, and that he had leave due for the very day when the accident occurred and he had generously given way to a married man.
He was only 20 years of age but had been in the Royal Marine Light Infantry since January 4th 1915. Up to New Years Day this year, when he joined the Vanguard he had served in the Marine land forces. First he went to the Dardanelles, fighting on land, and was on the very last ship to leave Gallipoli. This, he had informed his parents, was hit by a torpedo which didn’t explode. He was afterwards for a short time at Mudros, but left last May for France. Owing to an attack of trench fever and rheumatism in October, which sent him to England, he just missed the great attack by the Marines at Beaumont in the Albert advance. He was at home five weeks, leaving just before Christmas, joining the Vanguard on New Years Day. He had always been desirous of being on a ship.
Pte. Jack Brideoake was an only son and was formerly and apprentice joiner at Messrs. Cooper Bros. Foundry. Five or six years ago the family emigrated to America but returned four years ago, leaving their one sister who qualified as a nurse and has recently joined the Red Cross section of the American Forces. The family have always been closely connected with Holy Trinity Church, and the unfortunate young mans mother was for many years secretary to the Mothers Class. He had associated with the church and Sunday schools, and was exceedingly well known and popular. The news of his tragic death will be regretted by a large circle of friends.

 


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