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Gale, J J

Gillingham (Woodlands) Cemetery, Kent

Gillingham (Woodlands) Cemetery, Kent

Son of the late Arthur Gale & Mary Gale, 7 East Cottage, St Aubin's Road, Jersey.

Died aged 40 years

HMS Bulwark



On the 26th November 1914 while loading ammunition at Sheerness, she was destroyed by a huge explosion, probably caused by black powder charges being mishandled, only 12 men survived.

Bulwark Memorial

H.M.S. Bulwark Memorial, Gillingham (Woodlands) Cemetery.

Commemorated on:
St Lawrence Parish Memorial, Jersey
and on Aquila Road Methodist Church Memorial, Jersey

Commonwealth War Graves Commission Record

NEWS ITEM in Jersey Evening Post of Wednesday 2 December 1914

The Bulwark Disaster - Jerseyman amongst the Twelve Survivors. Among the 12 men saved after the Bulwark disaster was Able Seaman James John Gale, son of the late Mr Arthur Gale of Windsor Road. The poor fellow, who was called back to the Colours when war broke out, now lies in Chatham Hospital badly burned on the left side of the face and with a compound fracture of the right leg. He is we are glad to say progressing as satisfactorily as can be expected in the circumstances and must be considered exceedingly fortunate to be alive at all. Mr Gale was one of the crew of a cutter which was wrecked some time ago off the English coast and on that occasion also he escaped death by the narrowest margin.

NEWS ITEM in Jersey Evening Post of Friday 11 December 1914

Our Wounded in the English Hospitals. Mr J D Hamon of Covent Garden, who gives all the time he can spare to the visiting of Jerseymen lying wounded in English hospitals, writes to me as follows "I went yesterday to Chatham to see J J Gale, saved from the Bulwark disaster. I found him as well as could be expected, his face, ears and hands are shockingly burned but pain has greatly decreased and he is keeping his spirits up wonderfully under the circumstances. His mother has come up to Chatham and sees him frequently."

NEWS ITEM in Jersey Evening Post of Wednesday 13 January 1915

Jerseyman in Chatham Hospital - Three Operations in a Month. Mr J D Hamon of Covent Garden writes "I am sorry to say that Gale who was so badly injured in the Bulwark disaster and has since been lying in the Royal Naval Hospital at Chatham is very poorly. He has had three operations since he came here, the last one on Friday, and the poor chap seems done up. As the London Channel Island Society does not seem to interest itself in these poor fellows are there any warm hearted Jerseymen in the Island who would send their wounded fellow countrymen a little fruit sometimes, it would be very much appreciated".

NEWS ITEM in Jersey Evening Post of Tuesday 19 January 1915

Death of Able Seaman James J Gale - Another Victim of the Bulwark Disaster. We regret to learn that Able Seaman Gale, who was one of the few rescued from HMS Bulwark when she was accidentally blown up off Sheerness, passed away yesterday morning at Chatham Hospital where he had been since the unfortunate occurrence. Hopes were at first entertained that he would survive his terrible injuries but complications set in and though everything possible was done by the doctors and every care and attention given him, all proved unavailing. To his widowed mother and the other members of his family we offer our sincere sympathy.

NEWS ITEM in Jersey Evening Post of Wednesday 20 January 1915

The Death of Able Seaman Gale. We received the following letter from Mr J D Hamon this morning. "I am so sorry and grieved to say I received a letter this morning from Mrs Gale telling me her son died yesterday. He will be buried tomorrow at 2pm with full Naval Honours and I shall try and leave my business and go to Chatham for the funeral. I am sending a wreath. 19 January 1915". We had received a telegram from Mr Hamon yesterday sent after the despatch of this letter.


James John Gale

Able Seaman James John Gale
Royal Navy H.M.S."Bulwark"

1914-15 Star


Guernsey Press:

"It is with regret that we have to record the death of Seaman James J. Gale, which took place at 10:15am on the Monday morning in Chatham Hospital. It will be remembered that Seaman Gale sustained a fracture of he right leg and serious injuries to the face, the result of being blown up in the explosion on H.M.S. Bulwark, in which so many brave lives were lost.

After weeks of intense suffering the condition of the gallant bluejacket became aggravated at the end of last week and his relatives were summoned to his bedside. His sister, Mrs. P. Le Brun, who resides at 3, St. John's Terrace, left for England immediately on hearing of his precarious state and arrived just in time to see her brother pass away yesterday morning.

Seaman Gale, who was about 40 years of age, was formerly employed at the White Rock as a docker and joined his ship on receiving the mobilisation order. He was a son of Mrs. A. Gale."


NEWS ITEM in Jersey Evening Post of Friday 22 January 1915

Seaman J J Gale's Funeral. Letter to the Editor of Jersey Evening Post "Dear Sir, I went to Chatham yesterday to follow the remains of J J Gale. The funeral cortege left the hospital at 2pm, the coffin, covered with the Union Jack, was placed on a gun carriage which was drawn by a squad of men from HMS Pembroke, a detachment of men from the same ship followed behind. A band headed the procession and played during part of the journey. At the graveside as soon as the coffin had been lowered the men gave the salute and the bugler sounded the Last Post. The mourners were the deceased's mother, his sister, niece, their son and myself. A wreath I sent was placed on the coffin, the one sent by Mrs Guiton and yourself arriving just too late. The cemetery is over 2 miles from the hospital. Yours sincerely J D HAMON. 21 January 1915"

NEWS ITEM in the Jersey Evening Post of Monday 25 January 1915

The Death of Seaman Gate - Inquest & Funeral. At the inquest on Seaman J J Gale, one of the survivors of the Bulwark disaster, who succumbed to his injuries a few days ago, Staff Sergeant Percy Frank Minnet of the Royal Naval Hospital said the deceased was an Able Seaman aged 30. He was admitted on 26 November last suffering from burns, a compound fracture of the right leg, several flesh wounds of the body and head and shock. He never made any satisfactory progress at all and developed abscesses. He had died from exhaustion this morning. It will be remembered that there were 14 cases of Bulwark survivors under treatment in the hospital and the death of Seaman Gale is the fifth that has occurred. The funeral took place on Wednesday at Gillingham with full Naval Honours. A kindly action in connection with one of the Bulwark victims has come under notice - one of the few members of the ships Company rescued with Seaman J J Gale was also a native of Jersey and he visited his compatriot several times in an attempt to cheer him up. At one time it was hoped that Seaman Gale would pull through but unfortunately a change for the worse occurred at the weekend and he passed away on Monday according to Mr J D Hamon, the representative of the Jersey Society who visited Mr Gale on two or three occasions. Mr Hamon sent a wreath to place on the grave of poor Gale on the day of the funeral. Gale had had a narrow escape a few months previously as the boat he was then on sank and he was the only member of the crew saved. This item comes from the Chatham, Rochester & Gillingham News.


Courtesy of the Jersey Evening Post & Guernsey Press & Priaulx Library