Rank: Seaman DA15237
Regiment: Royal Naval Reserve, HMS Attentive
Died: 31 October 1964
Charles Hawker was born in Beer on 16 September 1881, the son of John Hawker, a gardener, and his wife Mary. Charles’s father was born in Beer, but his mother originally came from Uplyme. His brother Alfred also served in the Royal Naval Reserve.
Charles joined the Royal Naval Reserve on 3 March 1905, at which point he was living in Vicarage Lane, Branscombe. His RNR record describes him as 5ft 6¾ ins tall, with a fresh complexion and blue eyes.
On 8 May 1905 Charles married Edith Perry in Branscombe, and at the time of the 1911 census they were still living there, with Charles working as bricklayer, while Edith was a lacemaker. From 1910 Charles is recorded by the RNR as fishing from Branscombe on a boat called Hope (E186), so he may have divided his time between fishing and bricklaying.
Charles was called up on 3 March 1917, and joined HMS White Oak the following month. White Oak was a steam drifter, operating out of Poole as part of the Auxiliary Patrol.
In January 1918 Charles moved to HMS Attentive, a light cruiser which formed part of the Dover Patrol. In April that year Attentive took part in the Zeebrugge Raid, trying to prevent German craft leaving the harbour there, and in June sailed to Murmansk in northern Russia to support the ‘White Russian’ army fighting against the Bolsheviks. Attentive also took part in the capture of Modjugski Island near Archangel and other operations involving landing field guns and shore parties to support the White Russians.
In October 1918 Attentive returned to the UK, and was at Portsmouth when the war ended on 11 November. Charles was demobilised on 3 January 1919. He died on 31 October 1964, aged 83.
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