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Newton-le-Willows and

Earlestown War Memorial

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In Memory of

Lieutenant Richard Pinder Kellett


H.M.S. Flirt, Royal Navy
Killed In Action 26th October 1916 Age 36

The CWGC states that Lt. Kellett was the son of John and Catherine Jane Kellett and the husband of Dorothy Kellett, of Uplands, Dousland, Yelverton, Devon. Lt. Kellett's father had at one time been in business in Earlestown as Kellett and Barker (builders). The 1891 census, which had the family living at 22, Houghton Street, Newton, gives Richard's place of birth as New Ferry, Cheshire. His birth was registered during the last quarter of 1880. Two brothers and two sisters are listed in the census. Lt. Kellett was an old Wargrave school boy. His name is the first one on the memorial at Emmanuel Church in Wargrave.

The NEG of November 10th 1916 carried a brief obituary which said that Lt. Kellett was the commander of "The Flirt", "one of the destroyers which when last seen was engaged in battle with four of the enemy's newer and speedier type of destroyer."

The website of Canterbury Divers gives a more modern account of the action. "The ship was sunk on the night of 27 October 1916 when the German Navy mounted a raid in the Dover straights against the ships of the awesome Dover Patrol who were maintaining the Dover Barrage (Minefield). 12 German Destroyers in 2 divisions of 6 broke into the barrage and sunk 7 of the attendant trawlers and drifters.

"HMS Flirt investigated this and though she sighted the enemy they mistook them for Allied Destroyers returning to Dover. Flirt stopped to rescue survivors of the drifters in the sea and put her searchlight on to do this. Meanwhile the Germans returned and a well aimed torpedo struck her amidships, she sunk immediately with a loss of most of the crew (about eighty), the only survivors being those in the lifeboat picking up the other survivors."

According to CWGC, Lt. Kellett's name is recorded on Panel 11 of the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.