© Helvellyn Consulting 2021
Petty Officer Ernest James Plummer
J 16073, Royal Navy
Born 28th November 1895 Watermillock. Died 1962 Greenwich
Son of James and Edith Antoinette Plummer, of Patterdale Hall
Husband of Elsie Kathleen May Burrell
Ernest James Plummer was born on 28th November 1895 in Watermillock. His father James, a Coachman was at that time working at the Old Church Watermillock with his wife Edith. By 1901 the family had moved to work at Patterdale Hall where in March 1902 a brother to Ernest, William Allan, was born.
In 1912, at the age of just 16, Ernest enlisted with the Royal Navy. He then embarked on a long career including active service throughout the First World War which we have been able to follow through his Naval Service Records. He signed up in February 1912 and was initially based at HMS Impregnable, the Devonport training establishment. From August to December 1913 he was on board HMS Endymion, a first class cruiser of the Edgar class. He then spent a month ashore at the Naval barracks in Chatham, HMS Pembroke, before joining HMS Hibernia in January 1914 as an Able Seaman. He remained aboard until the end of September 1915, and during that time Ernest’s ship supported the Dardanelles Campaign and provided cover for the evacuation from the Gallipoli Peninsula.
In May 1916 Ernest joined HMS Chester, which had just entered service, three weeks before the Battle of Jutland. At Jutland she fought as part of the 3rd Battle Cruiser Squadron and came under withering fire from German forces. She was hit by 17 150mm shells and suffered casualties of 29 men killed and 49 wounded; many of the wounded lost legs because the open backed gun-
The medallion was given to all the officers and crew by the citizens of Chester and was engraved with the date of the Battle of Jutland. You can read more on the medallion in the article written by Mr Lindop and which he has kindly let us reproduce below.
After more spells ashore in May 1918 he joined HMS Sentinel, which was stationed in the Aegean. On 12 November 1918 Sentinel was part of the squadron sent through the Dardanelles to undertake duties in the Black Sea, where Britain was becoming involved in the Russian Civil War.
He later served aboard HMS Hermione, when he was appointed a Petty Officer. In the 1920s he served aboard a number of ships including HMS Blenheim, HMS Diligence (in 1924 in the Mediterranean), HMS Sandhurst (a Destroyer Depot Ship), and HMS Castor in July 1925. In November 1925, after many years at sea he joined HMS Ganges, the Naval Training establishment at Shotley in Suffolk. In December 1928 he was awarded his Long Service and Good Conduct Medal, and was by this time a Regulated Petty Officer.
We also know that on 26th September 1920, in Tooting London, he married 21 year old Elsie Kathleen May Burrell. We also know from the marriage certificate that by this time his father James had died. So far after that we have unfortunately been unable to find out anything about Ernest until his death in Greenwich in 1962. We have also not been able to find any details about the life of his younger brother William.
HMS Chester prior to the Battle of Jutland
HMS Castor -