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John William Ramsden
Casualty No.:
Service No.:
Date of Birth:
Place of Birth:
Age at Death:
Stoker 1st Class
H.M.S. Formidable
Teesdale Township:
Place Enlisted:
Home Address:
Barnard Castle, Bridgegate
Civilian Employment:
Railway Porter, Bowes Station
Cause of Death:
Date of Death:
Place of Death:
Battles & Campaigns:
UK Commemorated:
Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent
Overseas Commemorated:
Decoration and Medals:
Service :
Service Records:
Death Notice/Obituary:

"An Admiralty notification reached Barnard Castle on Thursday announcing the fact that Seaman John Ramsden, son of the late Mr John Ramsden, of Well-yard, Barnard Castle, had been drowned when the battleship, "Formidable" sank in the Channel. Ramsden, who had six or seven years' service in the Navy, was formerly a railway porter at Bowes station Much sympathy is felt with his mother and other relatives, who are well known in the town . Mrs Ramsden has for some time resided with a daughter at Darlington. Mrs George Thompson, of the Bay Horse Inn , Barnard Castle, is a sister of the deceased, who was twenty-eight years of age last birthday and was a first-class stoker."-Teesdale Mercury, 13th January 1915


"The roll of honour was read during morning and evening service, the names of those connected with the church and Sunday school being 48 in number. Two had fallen, namely: Private John Ramsden. who perished heroically in the sinking of His Majesty's ship, "Formidable" ; and Lance-corporal Pearson, of the Coldstream Guards, who has been missing since the early days of the war. About 356 men of the 17th Battalion Durham Light Infantry, and 200 of the 10th Leicestershire Regiment have worshiped here for many months, of whom a number have already sealed their testimony with their blood."-Teesdale Mercury 3rd November 1915


Further information regarding the sinking of HMS "Formidable":

Under the command of Vice-Admiral Commanding, Channel Fleet, Sir Lewis Bayly, the 5th Battle Squadron spent 31 December participating in gunnery exercises off the Isle of Portland, supported by the light cruisers Topaze and Diamond. After the exercises, that night the fleet remained at sea on patrol even though submarine activity had been reported in the area. With rough sea conditions and the wind increasing, submarine attacks would have been difficult to carry out and so were not thought to be a significant threat. Formidable was steaming at 10 kn (12 mph; 19 km/h) at the rear of the squadron off Portland Bill just 20 nmi (23 mi; 37 km) from Start Point, when at 02:20 on 1 January 1915 a torpedo from U-24 struck the number one boiler port side. It was thought that she might be saved by reaching the coast but by about 02:40 she had taken a list of 20° to starboard and the Captain Noel Loxley gave the order to abandon ship. Darkness and worsening weather made it difficult to get the men and boats over the side; some small boats were thrown into the water upside down.

At about 03:05, Formidable was struck by a second torpedo on the starboard side. Amidst a 30 ft (9.1 m) swell the pinnaces and launch along with other boats (one of which capsized soon after) were launched and the two light cruisers came alongside and managed to pick up 80 men in the deteriorating weather. By 04:45, she seemed in imminent danger of capsizing and a few minutes later she rolled over onto many of the men in the water and sank quickly. Captain Loxley remained on the bridge along with his Fox terrier Bruce, calmly overseeing the evacuation of the ship.

 In rough seas near Berry Head, the crew of a Brixham trawler Provident BM291, Skipper William Pillar, First Hand William Carter, Second Hand John Clarke and Apprentice Daniel Taylor (né Ferguson), picked up the men from one pinnace before it sank, saving 71 members of the crew. The second pinnace took off another 70 men, of which 48 were brought ashore alive after it was eventually spotted from the shore the following night, 22 hours after the sinking. The loss of life of Formidable was 35 officers (including Captain Loxley) and 512 men from a complement of 780. The body of Captain Loxley's dog Bruce, a war dog, washed ashore and was buried in a marked grave in Abbotsbury Gardens in Dorset.

Formidable was the third British battleship to be sunk and the second to be sunk by enemy action, during the First World War.


Teesdale Mercury-13/01/1915: Local and other notes: Report of death


Teesdale Mercury-03/11/1915: Day of prayer at Wesleyan Church: Roll of Honour



Family Details:

Son of John (deceased) and Sarah Ramsden, originally living in well yard. 


John had worked as a cattleman on a farm in Gayles and later a railway porter at Bowes Station before enlisting in the Royal Navy. He had completed six years' service before his death.

Date of death on is 01/01/15

First Name: TBM/7/1/12 Roll of Honour; Private Indidivual; St Mary's data; Last Name: TBM/7/1/12 Roll of Honour; Private Indidivual; St Mary's data; Service: TBM/7/1/12 Roll of Honour; Private Indidivual; Ranks: St Mary's data;; Unit: TBM/7/1/12 Roll of Honour; Private Individual; Service Number:; Date of Birth: St Mary's data; Place of Birth: St Mary's data; Home Address: TBM/7/1/12 Roll of Honour; Civilian Employment:; Date of Death: TBM/7/1/12 Roll of Honour; Private Indidivual; Cause of Death: TBM/7/1/12 Roll of Honour; Private Indidivual; Death Notice / Obituary:; Death Notice / Obituary:; Death Notice / Obituary: TBM/7/1/12 Roll of Honour; UK Commemorated:; Private Individual; Local Memorials:; Teesdale Townships: Teesdale Poor Law Union 1914;