China 1900, no bar, Queen’s South Africa, bar Natal, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, 179912, C.R. Childs, A.B., HMS Terrible in China & Boer War, Royal Navy.
A veteran of the Boer War where he was one of a small party called the Zululand Expeditionary Force who defended Zululand against any Boer incursions, followed by the Boxer Rebellion in China, both with HMS Terrible when WW1 began he was serving aboard HMS Hawke when it was sunk on 15th October 1914 by German Submarine U-9, Childs being killed in action presumed drowned in the North Sea.
Charles Robert Childs was born in Newhaven, Sussex on 16th April 1878, he joined the navy as a Boy 2nd Class aboard HMS Impregnable on 16th April 1896.
He joined HMS Terrible as an Ordinary Seaman aged 20 on 24th March 1898, in September 1899 Captain Percy Scott took command of the ship and sailed for service on the China Station, stopping by the Cape of Good Hope having expected hostilities to break out in South Africa, by the time he arrived in October the war had begun.
He was among the 2 Officers and 50 men who made up the “Zululand Expeditionary Force” under Lieut Dooner & Mid Kirby.
The Commission of HMS Terrible, Book page 171:
“On February 12th, Lieutenant Dooner, Midshipman Kirby, Petty Officers Neil, Sparks, Bicker, another 50 seamen and stokers, left the Terrible with two field guns, and proceeded to Zululand. They travelled by the coast railway to the terminus, then crossed the mouth of the Tugela near by, and marched to Eshowe, 28 miles distant, there joining the composite force protecting the province from Boer incursions.”
“Early on the 12th (March), after some eighteen hours passage on a much congested line, the train steamed in Durban, and during the forenoon the Zululand Contingent, which had also been recalled, arrived back from their bloodless but adventurous mission. A special mark of favour from this notoriously hospitable town was awaiting the combined contingents, for the townspeople had prepared a noonday banquet, which was well calculated to leave upon men fresh from campaigning fare a pleasant impression of the last few days spent in South Africa.”
After leaving South Africa, he then served in the Boxer Rebellion in China.
He then transferred on 25th October 1902 to HMS Pembroke.
He served in a number of other ships, Vernon, Pembroke I, Andromache, Scylla, Radiant, Halcyon, Acteon, between 1905 & 1911 rotating between Pembroke I, Halcyon & Acteon.
On 4th February 1913, Childs joined HMS Hawke as an A.B., previously in September 1911 the ship had collided wit RMS Olympic causing major damage and when Childs joined the crew she had just rejoined the fleet with the Training Squadron at Queenstown Island serving with the rest of the Edgar Class ships.
Upon the outbreak of the war in August 1914 she together with the other Edgar Ships from Queenstown joined the 10th Cruiser Squadron, operating on blockade duties between the Shetland Islands and Norway.
During October 1914 the 10th Cruiser Squadron was deployed further south into the North Sea as parts of efforts to stop German Warships from attacking a troop convoy from Canada. Then on 15th October, the squadron was on patrol off Aberdeen, deployed in line abreast at intervals of about 10 miles.
Hawke had stopped at 9:30 am to pick up mail from her sister ship Edymion. After recovering her boat with the mail, Hawke proceeded at 13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph) without zig-zagging to regain her station, and was out of sight of the rest of the squadron when at 10:30 a single torpedo from the German Submarine U-9, which had previously sunk three British Cruisers on 22nd September, then struck Hawke, which quickly capsized. The remainder of the squadron only realised anything was amiss, when, after a further, unsuccessful attack on Theseus, the squadron was ordered to retreat at high speed to the Northwest, an no response to the order was received from Hawke.
The destroyer Swift was dispatched from Scapa Flow to search for Hawke and found a raf carrying only one officer and 21 men, while a boat with a further 49 survivors was rescued by a Norwegian steamer.
524 Officers and Men died, including the Ship’s Captain, Hugh P.E.T. Williams, with only 70 survivors, Childs was officially declared to have drowned in the North Sea.