Private William Henry Mutters

Service Royal Marines Service No. 16964 (Ply)
Rank Private
Regiment:Royal Marine Light Infantry
Date of Birth: 01/03/1869
Born Dawlish
Date of Death: 31/05/1916
Memorial: Dawlish Memorial Inscription MUTTERS W.H. PTE R.M.L.I.

Service History

William enlisted first with the Royal Marines in London on 1 April 1889 at age 20. His previous occupation is shown as “Boot repairer”.
He was sent first to the Recruit Depot at Walmer, Kent, and then to the Plymouth Division, R.M. He signed on for 12 years and spent much of the time at sea in pre-Dreadnought battleships. On 1 January 1901 he was sent ashore at Port Stanley “per order of Commodore dated 28 Feb 01”. He remained there until 22 March 1901 as his first twelve year agreement was about to expire.

William enlisted once again, aged 45, on 31st August 1914 to join HMS QUEEN MARY (26,770 tons), the last battlecruiser built before WW1 and the sole member of her class. She was competed in 1913 and was part of the Grand Fleet based at Rosyth in the Firth of Forth.

The role of Royal Marines in action aboard ship is to man the gun turrets and ammunition hoists.

HMS QUEEN MARY - Loss at Jutland:
Steaming in advance of Admiral Sir John Jellicoe's Grand Fleet, Beatty's battlecruisers, supported by the battleships of the 5th Battle Squadron, collided with Vice Admiral Franz Hipper's battlecruisers in the opening phases of the Battle of Jutland.
Engaging at 3:48 PM on May 31, the German fire proved accurate from the outset. At 3:50 PM, QUEEN MARY opened fire on SMS SEYDLITZ with its forward turrets. As Beatty closed the range, QUEEN MARY scored two hits on its opponent and disabled one of SEYDLITZ's aft turrets.
Around 4:15, H.M.S LION came under intense fire from Hipper's ships. The smoke from this obscured H.M.S PRINCESS ROYAL forcing SMS DERFFLINGER to shift its fire to QUEEN MARY. As this new enemy engaged, the British ship continued to trade hits with SEYDLITZ.

At 4:26 PM, a shell from DERFFLINGER struck QUEEN MARY detonating one or both of its forward magazines. The resulting explosion broke the battlecruiser in half near its foremast. A second shell may have hit further aft. As the after part of the ship began to roll, it was rocked by a large explosion before sinking.

Of QUEEN MARY's crew, 1,266 were lost while only twenty were rescued.
William Henry Mutters is remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, The Hoe, and on Dawlish War Memorial.

Association with Dawlish

James Mutters (1820-1901) born in Exeter, married Mary Ann Voysey (1824-1893) born in Dawlish, in 1848. In 1851 they lived in Park Row, Dawlish with their nine children including William Henry (1869-1916). All children were born in Dawlish.

By 1881 James Mutters was a general labourer and Mary Ann was a charwoman. Living at home with them at 6 Park Row were John V, George V, William F, all general labourers, Charlotte, an errand girl and William, still at school. Eight years later William enlisted with the Royal Marines.

Devon Roll of Honour Mutters William H Pte R.M.L.I.
Additional Information Commonwealth War Graves Site

Next of Kin: Olive Mutters, neice, daughter of Thomas William & Sarah Mutters, Westmead, The Bartons, Dawlish (UK RN & RM War Graves Roll)
Last Known Address: 6 Park Row

H.M.S. QUEEN MARY after the explosion
HMS Queen Mary

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JUTLAND 1916 by Steel & Hart