Chater, Frederick William (No. Z/501)

Chater, Frederick William

Able Seaman

No. Tyneside Z/501, HMS Bayano, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve

Died as a result of enemy action on Thursday 11 March 1915 (aged 30)


Whitechurch Graveyard, Ballywalter, Co Down

(Grave in Middle of South-East boundary)


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Merseyside Roll of Honour


Not everyone who was buried in a Commonwealth War Grave in the Ards and North Down area was a local person.

Seven men from HMS Bayano whose bodies were washed ashore along the coastline of the Ards Peninsula were buried in three local graveyards.

HMS Bayano was an Elders & Fyffes merchant ship that was commissioned by the Admiralty in 1914 for use as an Armed Merchant Auxiliary Cruiser and she served with 10th Cruiser Squadron.

HMS Bayano sank off Corsewall Point, Stranraer around 4.45 am on Thursday 11 March 1915 when on route from Glasgow to Liverpool after being hit by a torpedo fired from the German Submarine U-27.

It was pitch dark at the time and many of the crew were sleeping.

Around 200 men died and less than 30 were saved.

Survivors clung to wreckage in the water for more than four hours before being picked up by the SS Castlereagh.

HMS Bayano disappeared within about three minutes of being torpedoed and the majority of those who perished were sucked into the vortex created by the rapidly sinking ship.

Many of the bodies were washed up on the shores of the Isle of Man.

The seven men who were buried in three local graveyards were as follows:

An unidentified Royal Marine of the Great War from HMS Bayano was buried in the North-East part of Ballyhalbert Church of Ireland (St Andrew’s) Graveyard, Ballyeasborough.

Also buried in that Graveyard was Leading Seaman Edgar Jonathan Spracklin of the Newfoundland Royal Naval Reserve.

His body was found washed up on the shore at Portavogie.

Frederick William Chater, a British Able Seaman in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, was buried near the middle of the South-East boundary of Whitechurch Graveyard, Ballywalter.

His body was found washed up on the shore at Ballywalter.

Two unidentified sailors from HMS Bayano were buried in Ballyphilip Church of Ireland Graveyard, Portaferry.

Their headstones affirm that they are:

Known Unto God

Also buried in that Churchyard was Private Alexander George Bain of the Royal Marine Light Infantry.

Identified by means of a letter in one of his pockets, he was buried in Grave 197.

The fourth casualty from HMS Bayano who was buried in that Graveyard was Able Seaman W A Wellstead of the Royal Navy.

Identified by means of having his name embossed on his belt, he was buried in Grave 198.

In the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) Debt of Honour Website it is recorded that Frederick William Chater was the husband of Sarah Dixon (formerly Chater) of 114 Chester Road, Sunderland.

Able Seaman Frederick William Chater’s body was found washed up on the shore on 26 March 1915 at Ballywalter.

An inquest was held the following day and the cause of death was asphyxia due to drowning.

Able Seaman Frederick William Chater was 30 when he died.

Naval records show that he was born on 1 December 1884 and joined up on 20 October 1914.  In civilian life he worked as a slinger (winched goods on and off transport ships).