A fatal first voyage

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In 1935, a local lad who had joined the Royal Navy at HMS St Vincent, Gosport disappeared over the side from the battlecruiser HMS Hood when in Arosa Bay, Spain.

Boy 1st Class William Maurice Brown. aged 17, lived at 10 Childe Square, Stamshaw, Portsmouth. It was his first ship.

Just before 5am on January 19 1935, the boys were called to take their bath. Boy Brown got out of his hammock and was not seen again.

The captain held an inquiry. No one had seen William go over the side.

William’s parents were later informed that a body had been recovered at Villagarcia.

At the bequest of the British consul in Vigo, HMS Valorous was despatched from the Second Destroyer Flotilla with a chaplain to attend the service of the unfortunate boy.

The burial was held in Villagarcia Naval Cemetery with full service honours.

Wreaths were sent from the rear admiral and staff of the Battle Cruiser Squadron, the captain, officers and ship’s company of HMS Hood and the dead boy’s family.