Saturday, 30 May 2015

Mead, John Robert Shuttleworth - Able Seaman (Z/1581)

(No soldier photo available)
Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve,
Hawke Battalion, Royal Naval Division,
Killed in Action
27th December 1915
Age 27
Commemorated Helles Memorial

John Robert Shuttleworth Mead was born at Acre, Haslingden on 12 October 1888. He was the son of George Henry and Isabella Mead of 459, Acre, and was baptised at St. James’s Church, Haslingden on 25 October 1888. In 1901, John Robert was living at 13, Edward Street, Acre, with his parents, brothers George Henry and Samuel and sister Mary. In August 1910 his mother, Isabella died and was buried in Stonefold Churchyard. John was a former pupil of Stonefold School and a B.A. of London University where he gained an honours degree in history. In 1913 he was appointed assistant history master at the Southend High School for Boys. He became a lieutenant in the Cadet Corps and enlisted in the Royal Naval Division at the outbreak of war and took part in the Gallipoli campaign. He met his death on 27 December 1915, only two days before the evacuation of the Peninsula took place. He was 27 years of age and a single man.
The news of John R S Shuttleworth’s  death is given in a letter to the Southend Standard by Seaman H. Keane, 13th Platoon, Hawke Battalion, - “I feel I must write and tell you about the death of one of the masters at the High School, namely J.R.S. Mead. He came out here in August last year and joined us with the Hawke Battalion. It was not until September that I discovered he was a master at Southend, and that he lived in the next road to me at Westcliffe. His great friend out here was the Rev. E.G. Davies who joined up in the ranks. Both Mead and Davies endured the hardships of the Gallipoli Campaign very well and both were very popular in the company and were greatly respected. We spent Christmas Day, and the following day, in the firing line, during which days we had a very severe time. We then moved back into reserve trenches, and on Monday December 27th, just about one p.m. while we were having dinner, a huge shell burst just a yard beyond the dug- out. Two were unhurt, seven were injured and three were killed, two of whom were Mead and Davies. The doctor’s examination showed that death was instantaneous and not from suffocation. Death was caused by the shell. We buried them that night at nine p.m. and afterwards our officer said a few words and paid both a very high tribute, “Greater love hath no man than this”, and he finished by commending their souls to the mercy of God. Two nicer gentlemen could not be wanted or found anywhere. It was a sad loss for all of us, and we all express our deepest sympathy with the relatives and friends of both.    From – Southend Standard 3 February 1916

N.B. J.R.S. Mead is named on St. John's, Stonefold war memorial as a Lieutenant, but on the day he died he was an Able Seaman. There is no doubt, however, with his previous rank as a Lieutenant in the School Cadet Force, he would have achieved a commission if he had lived. 
John Robert Shuttleworth Mead’s name is commemorated on the Helles Memorial, Gallipoli.