Stoker First Class
No. SS/109881, HMS Goliath, Royal Navy
Killed in action on Thursday 13 May 1915 (aged 34)
No known grave
Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent, England (Panel 11)
Comber and District War Memorial
Comber Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mary’s)
Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) Roll of Honour 1914 – 1919 for
Megain Memorial Presbyterian Church Belfast
Journey of Remembering Belfast Book of Honour
In some records his surname is spelt Hyles.
Hector Hiles was born on 1 July 1880 in Mill Street, Comber and he was a son of Thomas Hamilton Hiles and Anna Maria (sometimes Mariah) Hiles (nee Carson, sometimes Carse) who were married on 28 January 1865 in Newtownards Registrar’s Office.
The Hiles family lived in Mill Street, Comber.
Thomas Hiles worked in the Comber Spinning Company for over fifty years and he and Maria had at least seven children:
Thomas George (born 29 October 1865 in Comber; died 11 February 1867)
Ellenor (Ellen, born 3 February 1867 in Comber)
Agnes (Aggie, born 22 January 1872 in Mill Street, Comber)
Margaret Jane (born 14 April 1874 in Mill Street, Comber; died 13 May 1874)
Margaret Jane McCalpin (born 9 January 1876 in Mill Street, Comber)
Thomas George (born 20 January 1878 in Mill Street, Comber)
Hector (born 1 July 1880 in Mill Street, Comber)
Their mother, Maria, died on 15 February 1911 (aged 61).
Before he joined the Royal Navy, Hector Hiles worked as a railway engine cleaner. He and Cassandra Catherine (Cassie) Crossen were married on 28 September 1907 in Dundela Presbyterian Church, Belfast. Cassie Crossen was a daughter of John Crossen, a carter.
The Hiles family lived at 20 Westminster Avenue, Belfast and then at 48 Derwent Street, Newtownards Road, Belfast.
Hector and Cassie Hiles had at least one child:
Margaret Jane (born 18 April 1908 at 20 Westminster Avenue, Belfast).
Stoker First Class Hector Hiles 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.
Hector Hiles was known to be a fine swimmer and initial reports suggested that he might be amongst those who had been saved. Hopes were dashed when it was officially confirmed that he must be presumed to have died.
Stoker First Class Hector Hiles was one of three men with Ards and North Down connections who were killed aboard HMS Goliath. The others lost that night were Boy First Class Alfred Henry Victor Gadd and Stoker First Class William Ernest Beringer.
Stoker First Class Hector Hiles was 34 when he died and he is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent; on Comber and District War Memorial; on the Memorial Plaque in Comber Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mary’s); in the PCI Roll of Honour for Megain Memorial Presbyterian Church Belfast and in the Belfast Book of Honour (Page 268).
In naval records Stoker First Class Hector Hiles’s date of birth is recorded as 1 July 1887. He joined up on 31 May 1910 for a period of five + seven years. He was 5 feet 10¼ inches tall with light brown hair, blue eyes and a fresh complexion. He had a series of tattoos on his right forearm.