Embroidery showing HMS Viking
My great-uncle Aaron Ayres, service No. SS3580, born 1891, joined HMS Viking around 8 December 1914. Viking had been built by Palmers of Jarrow and was launched in 1909. She was a Tribal class destroyer, 290 feet in length. She was unique in that she was the only destroyer with six funnels. She was damaged on 29 January 1916 when she hit a submerged moored German mine in the English Channel off Boulogne. Nine officers and crew lost their lives at the time and a tenth victim died later.
Aaron married Fanny Freeman, one of eleven children, in 1915. It is likely that aunt Fan made the embroidery. Aaron died in 1974.
Postcards and New Testament
My grandfather, Reginald Joseph Ayres (Joe), service No. 115202, born 1897, joined the Royal Field Artillery as a gunner. He was gassed in 1916 and was thought to have died. Someone realised he was still alive, although very poorly. He was placed on the New Zealand Hospital Ship Marama. The New Testament bears the imprint of the ship and must have fallen into Joe’s kitbag on leaving Marama! Joe subsequently moved in August 1916 to the Seymour Park Council School, Old Trafford, serving at the time as a hospital porter [?] and by Christmas of 1916 was in the Partington Convalescent Home, Glossop. The postcards show pictures of Marama, Seymour Park School and Partington Convalescent Home. We believe he may have subsequently rejoined the battle with the Durham Light Infantry.
Joe married Hilda Freeman, the sister of his brother Aaron’s wife, in 1918. Joe died in 1976.
Aaron and Fanny, Joe and Hilda lived in Kettering, Northamptonshire.