First World War Project

Daniel Edward EASON (of Teynham)

b. 22nd July 1890
d. 30th June 1917. Aged 27

Stoker 1st Class, Service Number K/15961
H.M.S. "Cheerful"
Torpedo Destroyer, Royal Navy
Chatham Naval Memorial
Panel 23
Killed in Action

Chatham Naval War Memorial

Several generations of Daniel's family lived and worked locally. Living in Milton/Sittingbourne, Frinsted, Throwley, Buckland, Norton and Teynham. Daniel's parents, Walter James Eason and Frances Charlotte (née Luckhurst) were married at Lynsted Church.

Daniel Edward Eason's family had connections with the sea going back at least to his great grandfather, Thomas, who was a "fisherman" and his grandfather was a "mariner". His father broke the tradition by employment as an agricultural labourer. In some census returns, Daniel's father is vague about his own age and place of birth, but we have been able to confirm his birthplace as Throwley. In 1891, the family lived in Old Workhouse Cottage No.3, Throwley but by 1901 the family lived in Provender Cottages. In 1911, Daniel was away from the family home working as a 19 year old "second farm boy" on Davington Farm, Davington/Oare.

Walter and Frances Eason's first-born, Walter James, died soon after his birth in 1880. The remaining children were (oldest to youngest) Daniel Edward, Florence, Hulber James, Elaine Lily, Nora May and Edith Louisa. Daniel's younger brother, Hulber James, also served in the Navy during the First World War, but survived. Hulber lived for 78 years, dying in Sidcup at the age of 78 - cremated at Greenwich.

HMS Cheerful, Torpedo Destroyer

Shetland Island map - HMS Cheerful sunk by a mine

It is plausible that the family history of working on the sea may have influenced his decision to join the Royal Navy. HMS "Cheerful" was stationed at Chatham and only ever served in Home Waters until she struck a mine east of the Shetland Isles losing all 44 officers and men on the Northern Patrol.

Daniel first joined the Royal Navy on 21st August 1912, at Chatham (Pembroke II), signing up for 12 years service. He gave his date of birth as 22nd July 1890 and occupation as "farm labourer". He was described as 5 feet 7 inches tall and chest measurement 36¼". His hair and eyes were brown and he enjoyed a fresh complexion. Throughout his career, his character was assessed as "very good". He signed up as a second-class Stoker until 20th February 1913 when he was promoted to Stoker, first-class based at Tyne and serving on HMS "Cheerful". He had a short period in Chatham (Pembroke) from 28th June to 22nd September, 1916. Whether this was for training or leave (maybe both), he returned to HMS Cheerful stationed at Tyne and then HMS Wallington (an Auxiliary Patrol base at Grimsby).

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission confirms Daniel's father as Walter James Eason of 11, Station Row, Teynham, Sittingbourne. Although one record gives his mother as "Mary", perhaps his natural mother had died and his father remarried? This would explain why only his father is included in the CWGC official record.

Faversham and North East Kent News of 17th November 1917
First-Class Stoker Daniel Edward Eason went down with a vessel which was lost in June last, but it was only about three weeks ago that his death was reported to his parents, Mr and Mrs Walter James Eason, who reside at 11, Station Row. he was a single man, 29 years of age, and had been eight years in the Navy. in the last letter his parents received from him in June he was expecting to get leave in a few days. A curious circumstance is that two other vessels on which deceased had previously served have both been lost during the war. One of them was the Formidable. Mr and Mrs Eason have another son in the Navy, the two brothers joining at the same time. This other son was also at one time on the vessel on which his brother went down; happily he was transferred to another ship some two years ago, or the parents would possibly have had a double bereavement.

Medal Records shows that Daniel Edward Eason was awarded the 14-15 Star, British War and Victory Medals. [See Appendix 1]

Military Experience of Daniel Edward Eason

There is very little material to help understand Daniel's naval experiences. We know he first attested almost exactly two years before the First World War was declared. Apart from his service ashore in Chatham and HMS Tyne (the flotilla depot ship) we know that with war in full swing, Daniel became "Stoker, 1st class" and moved into HMS "Cheerful".

HMS "Cheerful" was a torpedo boat destroyer, built in 1897 by Hawthorne, Leslie & Co., Newcastle. Launched on 14th July 1897 and commissioned in June 1899 when she was assigned to the Chatham Division of the Harwich Flotilla. After 30th September 1913, she was re-designated as a "C-Class" Destroyer.

Her principal duties were on anti-submarine and counter-mining patrols. At the close of September 1914, she was redeployed to the Shetlands patrol base out of Scapa Flow. Her role being to defend the main fleet anchorage.

Powered by 4 Thornycroft water tube boilers, 2 vertical triple-expansion steam engines and two propeller shafts, this Destroyer had a range of 2,291 kilometres at a maximum 30-knots. It carried armament of a 12-pounder naval gun, 5 6-pounder guns and 2 single tubes for 18-inch torpedoes.

The credit for laying the fateful mine was given to U-Boat UC33, captained by Martin Schelle.

There are official records concerning the sinking of HMS Cheerful, but they can only be inspected in person at the Public Records Office, Kew, London. Ref: ADM 137/3673; Title: "Loss of HMS CHEERFUL"; Date 1917 June 30 - July 10.

Family of Daniel Edward EASON

Family tree for Daniel Edward Eason

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