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Person Details
30 Jul 1882
Fulham London
He was the son of Harry Leonard Kempton and Alice Maud Kempton nee Coe. His parents, who were both born in Cambridge, were married there in 1881 (Apr/May/Jun). They were to have two children of whom only Harry was still alive in 1911. Harry senior was an upholsterer, a trade in which his son followed him. In 1901 Harry (20) was a boarder in London in the household of Thomas and Eliza Knighton. He joined the Royal Navy three years later but after purchasing his discharge in 1910 he transferred to the Royal Fleet Reserve. He probably then went to join his parents who were living in Nottingham at 70 Radford Road as this is where he was living at the time of the 1911 census. His parents were still living at this address at the time of their son's death; his mother was named on his RN service record as the relative who was notified of his death. His father died aged 73 on 22 February 1933 when he was living at 17 Bentinck Road, Nottingham. Probate was awarded to an unmarried sister, Emily Rosa Kempton, suggesting that his wife had predeceased him (no record found).
He was an upholsterer when he joined the Royal Navy in 1904 and returned to the same occupation on leaving the Royal Navy in 1910.
01 Nov 1914
2871473 - CWGC Website
Stoker 1st Class
HMS Good Hope Royal Navy
RFR/PO/A/3714. Harry joined the Royal Navy on a 12 year engagement in 21 January 1904 but transferred to the Royal Fleet Reserve (by purchase) in 1910. He was mobilized as a reservist in 1914. He served in the following ships and shore establishments: HMS Nelson 21 January 1901-16 June 1901 (Stoker 2nd Class); HMS Firequeen 17 June 1904-14 July 1904; HMS Majestic 15 July 1904-1 October 1906 (Stoker 1st Class 1 July 1906); Victory II 2 October 1906-2 January 1907; HMS Hecla 3 January 1907-16 January 1907 (14 days cells) 31 January 1907-3 June 1907; Sapphire II 4 June 1907-2 June 1909; HMS Hecla 3 June 1909-9 August 1910; Victory II 10 August 1910-12 August 1910. ‘Shore by purchase.’ RN record annotated ‘Joined RFR Portsmouth 13 August 1910.’ HMS Good Hope 13 July 1914-24 July 1914 (Stoker 1st Class); Victory II 25 July 1914-30 July 1914; HMS Good Hope 31 July 1914-1 November 1914. RN record annotated, ‘DD 1 November 1914. Lost when HMS Good Hope was sunk in action off Chilian Coast.’ Harry was lost in HMS Good Hope at the Battle of Coronel. His body was not recovered for burial and he is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. HMS Good Hope was a Drake Class armoured cruiser built in 1901. By 1914 she was the flagship of Rear Admiral Sir Christopher George Cradock, 4th Cruiser Squadron, which included HMS Good Hope, Monmouth, Glasgow and the armed merchant cruiser Otranto. The squadron intercepted Vice Admiral von Spee’s squadron which included Scharnhorst and Gneisenau forty five miles off the Chilean port of Coronel. None of the ships in Cradock's squadron posed a threat to von Spee’s modern ships, which had greater fire-power than those of the British Squadron, and Good Hope and Monmouth’s ship’s companies mainly comprised reservists whereas von Spee’s crews were well trained and experienced. The sun set at 18:50 on November 1st 1914, which silhouetted the British ships against the light sky while the German ships became indistinguishable from the shoreline behind them. Spee immediately turned to close and signalled his ships to open fire at 19:04 when the range closed to 12,300 yards. Spee's flagship, Scharnhorst, engaged Good Hope while Gneisenau attacked HMS Monmouth. HMS Good Hope was hit by Scharnhorst's third salvo, and the shells knocked out her forward 9.2-inch turret and set her forecastle on fire. Cradock, knowing his only chance was to close the range, continued to do so despite the battering that Spee's ships inflicted. By 19:23 the range was almost half of that when the battle began and the British ships bore onwards. Spee tried to open the range, fearing a torpedo attack, but the British were only 5,500 yards away at 19:35. Seven minutes later Good Hope sailed toward the German ships, which successfully manoeuvred; Spee ordered his armoured cruisers to concentrate fire on the British flagship which had drifted to a halt with her topsides ablaze. At 19:50 her forward magazine exploded severing the bow and she later sank in the darkness. Von Spee estimated that his flagship had made 35 hits on Good Hope, suffering only two hits in return that did no significant damage and failed to injure any of his crew. Good Hope was lost with all hands, a total of 919 officers and men. The captain of Cradock’s flagship, HMS Good Hope, was Captain Philip Francklin, who was a career officer and came from Gonalston Nottinghamshire (he is on the Gonalston memorial). A postscript is that von Spee’s squadron was destroyed, and he and his two sons killed, when the Royal Navy under Admiral Sturdee exacted retribution six weeks later at the Battle of the Falkland Islands on 8 December 1914.
Nottingham Evening Post notice (abridged), 25 November 1914: 'Kempton on November 1st off Chilean coast in Good Hope, Harry Leonard, son of Harry Leonard and Alice Maud Kempton, age 32.'
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