Silcox, William Henry


War Service:
Able Seaman WILLIAM HENRY SILCOX died on 22 September 1914 while serving on HMS Aboukir.

Early on September 22nd the elderly cruisers HMS Aboukir, HMS Hogue and HMS Cressy were on patrol in the area of the North Sea known as the Broad Fourteens. The German submarine U9 sighted the three vessels steaming at about 10 knots without zigzagging. Although the patrols were supposed to maintain 12-13 knots and zigzag the old cruisers were unable to maintain that speed and the zigzagging order was widely ignored as there had been no submarines sighted in the area so far during the war. U9 fired a torpedo hitting the Aboukir. The two other cruisers closed to give assistance and U9 fired two more torpedoes which hit Hogue. Two more torpedoes sealed Cressy’s fate. In all 837 men were rescued from the three cruisers but 1459 were lost.

He was lost at sea and is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial.

Location of Memorial:
He is also remembered on the war memorial at St Mildred’s church, Lee.

He was the son of Walter and Minnie Silcox, of 95, Summerfield Street, Baring Road, Lee, and his brother Walter also died in the First World War. They were survived by two other brothers who also served, Charles and Alexander, who was injured while serving as a sniper and became a sports master at Rugby School.


Contributed By: Andy Pepper

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