Gadd, Alfred Henry Victor (Victor)
Boy First Class
No. J/27246, HMS Goliath, Royal Navy
Killed in action on Thursday 13 May 1915 (aged 17)
No known grave
Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent, England (Panel 10)
Alfred Henry Victor Gadd was born in June 1897 and he was the only son of Alfred Henry Gadd and Kathleen (Katie) Gadd (nee Cleland) who were married on 9 July 1891 in St Andrew’s Church of England Church, Holborn, Middlesex.
The Gadd family lived at 29 Queen’s Avenue, Winchmore Hill, London.
Victor Gadd’s maternal grandparents, Thomas Cleland (a woollen draper from Killyleagh) and Marianne Brown, were married on 11 December 1861 in Regent Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards.
Victor Gadd’s death was widely reported in the Newtownards Chronicle because he could trace his Newtownards connections back through three generations – his mother, Mrs Katie Gadd (nee Cleland); his grandmother, Mrs William Yeates and his great-grandfather, John Brown who had been a leading merchant in the town.
Victor Gadd was just 17 years 11 months old when he was killed at around 1.00 am on 13 May 1915 when the Battleship HMS Goliath was torpedoed by the Turkish Torpedo Boat Destroyer Muavenet-i Milliye while she was anchored in Morto Bay off Cape Helles.
There was a massive explosion and more than 500 of the 700-strong crew were killed as the ship sank.
Victor Gadd’s body was never recovered and he is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial in Kent.
Boy First Class Alfred Henry Victor Gadd was one of three men with Ards connections who were killed in action aboard HMS Goliath. The others lost that night were Stoker First Class William Ernest Beringer and Stoker First Class Hector Hiles.
On 8 May 1915, just five days before he died, Victor Gadd wrote a cheery letter home to his parents. On 22 May 1915, some nine days after the sinking of HMS Goliath, Victor’s parents received official notification from the Admiralty about his death.
In May 1917 Boy First Class Victor Gadd’s parents placed an Our Heroes – In Memoriam notice in the Newtownards Chronicle and it contained the verse:
In a foreign sea he sleeps today,
A mother’s pride and joy;
He did his part with manly heart,
A brave, a noble boy.