Correctly named WWI Pair J39578
WWII medals unnamed as issued and Imperial Service Medal named Walter Dudley. Please note he is missing his 1915 Star.
In 1901, we find him living at 6 Backheath St, Birmingham.
Walter was born in 1898 to Herbert and Emily and hailed from the Birmingham area. He was a packer by trade and was living at 4 Cambridge Cottages, Cape Street, Birmingham when he enlisted. He was at HMS Ganges in early 1915.
His second posting was HMS Warrior from September 1915 and survived the sinking at Jutland in May 1916.
HMS Warrior at Jutland
At the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916, the 1st Cruiser Squadron was in front of the Grand Fleet, on the right side. At 5:47 p.m., the squadron flagship, HMS Defence, and Warrior spotted the German II Scouting Group and opened fire. Their shells felt short and the two ships turned to port in pursuit, cutting in front of the battlecruiser HMS Lion, which was forced to turn away to avoid a collision. Shortly afterwards they spotted the disabled German light cruiser SMS Wiesbaden and closed to engage. When the two ships reached a range of 5,500 yards (5,000 m) from Wiesbaden they were spotted in turn at 6:05 by the German battlecruiser SMS Derfflinger and four battleships who were less than 8,000 yards (7,300 m) away. The fire from the German ships was heavy and Defence blew up at 6:20. Warrior was hit by at least fifteen 28-centimetre (11 in) and six 15-centimetre (5.9 in) shells, but was saved when the German ships switched their fire to the battleship HMS Warspite when its steering jammed and caused Warspite to make two complete circles within sight of much of the High Seas Fleet.
Warrior was heavily damaged by the German shells, which caused large fires and heavy flooding, although the engine room crew – of whom only three survived – kept the engines running for long enough to allow her to withdraw to the west. She was taken in tow by the seaplane tender HMS Engadine who took off her surviving crew of 743. She was abandoned in a rising sea at 8:25 a.m. on 1 June when her upper deck was only 4 feet (1.2 m) above the water, and subsequently foundered.
There was a write up in the Birmingham Gazette for Walter which includes his picture.
Birmingham Gazette: TWO “WARRIORS.”
Two Midland sailors who came safely
through the North Sea battle are Signal-
man Walter Dudley, 25 Middlemore-road,
Smethwick, and Joseph Gorden, of Coven-
try. The former is well-known in the
Winson Green district. They were both
on board H.M.S. Warrior, and were saved
when their vessel sank.
He later served aboard HMS Chester. This was the ship Jack Cornwall famously earned his Victoria Cross at Jutland.
He transferred to the Royal Fleet Reserves in June 1922
We believe he married Kate Cotter in 1924.
In 1939, we find a ‘Kate Dudley’ living at 13 London Street, Smethwick, Smethwick, Staffordshire, England. The name on the census above hers is blacked out but as we can see from the newspaper report, Smethwick is the area he was from.
In WWII, he saw service with President III which ran Defensive Armed Merchant Ships, DAMS, which sailed with the convoys. He ended his WWII service at HMS Mercury, a shore establishment at Petersfield, Hampshire.
We believe Walter to have died in 1962.