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Charles William Stocks

Able Seaman

HMS Prince of Wales


My Uncle Charles William Stocks served on HMS Prince of Wales and his date of death is given as Monday 16 February 1942 . Age 22 .

At age 17, he enlisted on 14 April for 12 years in 1937.

His official Service was No. SSX 20610

Ordinary Seaman from 14 April 1937 to 12 September 1938.

He became an Able Seaman on 13 September 1938.

Charles was awarded a good conduct badge on 5 October 1940 which at the time, was awarded for 3 continuous years of good service (see below), this was signified by a single stripe on his left arm.

Good Conduct Badges (worn on the left arm) were first authorised in 1849 for award after 5, 10 and 15 years' satisfactory service. These periods were changed to 3, 8 and 13 years in 1861, and to 4, 8 and 12 years in 1946. Since 1956 the extra pay given for them is 4d per badge per day


Charles was present when HMS Hardy was sunk, she was run aground and beached after an attack in Ofot Fjord, Narvik, Norway:

First battle of Narvik

On 10 April 1940 in Ofot Fjord, Narvik, Norway, Captain Warburton-Lee of HMS Hardy led a flotilla of five destroyers in a surprise attack on German destroyers and merchant ships in a blinding snowstorm. This was successful, 2 German destroyers were sunk and a further 2 seriously damaged. Eight merchantmen and the ammunition ship Raunfels were also sunk. this was almost immediately followed by an engagement with five more German destroyers, during which  Captain Warburton-Lee was mortally wounded by a shell which hit Hardy's bridge. Two British destroyers were lost; the Hunter sunk; and the Hardy run aground; in the first battle of Narvik; two other destroyers were badly damaged.

Captain Warburton-Lee was posthumously awarded the VC for this action. This was the first VC to be gazetted in the Second World War. 

Charles served on Prince of Wales from 8 June 1941 to 10 December 1941. Prince of Wales was commissioned on 31st March 1941, so Charles was on her for almost all of her service, although he missed the events against the Bismark with Hood in late May 1941. He was present when the Atlantic charter was signed in August 1941.

After the sinking on 10th December 1941, the MOD then has him on HMS Drake Barracks in Plymouth from 11 December to 21 December which is most likely because the Navy had him down as due for return to British waters and reassignment, before events in Singapore took over and he was 'officially' posted to HMS Sultan which is the main Naval base there.

HMS Sultan. From the 1 January 1942 to 16 February 1942 Base Ship Singapore.

He was posted as missing from 16 February - killed on War Service

Please contact myself or Andy (Webmaster) with any information.

David Parry

Andy Wade (Webmaster)

Information provided by

David Parry

Commonwealth War Graves Commission record:

In Memory of
Able Seaman
H.M.S. Sultan, Royal Navy
who died on
Monday 16 February 1942 . Age 22 . 
Additional Information: Son of William and Eliza Ann Stocks, of South Elmsall, Yorkshire. 
Cemetery: PORTSMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL Hampshire, United Kingdom 
Grave or Reference Panel Number: Panel 92.