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About William Bertie Gostling

  • Name
    William Bertie Gostling
  • Initials
    WBG
  • Surname
    Stammers
  • Date of Birth
    1879
  • Birth town
    Southwold, Suffolk
  • Resided town
    Lowestoft
  • Commemorated
  • Nationality
    English
  • Place of death
    Lowestoft
  • Date of death
    13 September 1934
  • Married
    yes
  • Occupation
    Fisherman

Service Information

  • Merchant Navy

  • Service Number
  • Rank

Biography

William Bertie Gostling Stammers was born in Southwold, Suffolk in 1879 to parents William, a bricklayer and Mary Ann; he was one of four children.

In 1903, William married Florence Emma Reddy in Blything, Suffolk, and they had six daughters: Edith Alice Reddy (1902), Daisy Emily A (1903), Lily May (1905), Viola Wilhelmina (1907), Iris Muriel (1909) and Sylvia E (1910).

In the 1901 Census, William (22) is one of the eight-man crew on the vessel ‘Reward’ fishing off Newlyn in Cornwall.  In 1911, the family were living at 504 London Road, Lowestoft and William was a fisherman in the drift net fishing industry.  William died in Lowestoft in 1934 aged 55 and is buried in Kirkley Cemetery, Lowestoft.

During the war years, William skippered more than one fishing vessel operating out of Lowestoft, including the Steam Drifter ‘Newark Castle’, (a type of fishing vessel using drift nets). ‘Newark Castle’ was sunk on 6 July 1916, around 23 miles SE of the river Tyne by the German U-Boat U23, under command of Oberlieutnant zur See Ernst Voigt.  In a three-day patrol, the U-Boat sank eight British vessels of similar size (one of the other vessels was the ‘Girl Gracie’ a boat the William had previously skippered).

Crew members came through Peterborough East Station on 8 July 1916 and wrote two detailed accounts of the attacks in the visitors’ books, describing how the German U-Boat U23 captured the vessels, allowing the crews off before sinking the vessels with bombs.  The crew of the “Newark Castle” were rescued by a British submarine and landed in Blyth six hours later, along with crews from “Girl Bessie” and “Petunia”http://uboat.net/wwi/ships_hit/4372.html

U-Boat U23 sank 51 ships until it was badly damaged by depth charges from the patrol boat HMS PC-60 off the Lizard on July 26 1917. http://uboat.net/wwi/boats/index.html?boat=UB+23

U-Boats under the command of Oberlieutnant zur See Ernst Voigt, sank 80 ships.  Voigt, who was highly decorated, which included the Iron Cross 1st class, died on 25 August 1917 when UC 72 hit a mine in the Straits of Dover. http://uboat.net/wwi/men/commanders/377.html

William and his nine crewmen could possibly have been returning to Lowestoft, following their unfortunate encounter with the German submarine.

Please get in touch if you can tell us more about William.

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