Able Seaman Frederick Samuel Luscombe

Service Royal Navy Service No. 197474 (Dev)
Rank Able Seaman
Ship:HMS Magic
Date of Birth: 1880
Born Highweek, Newton Abbot
Date of Death: 10/04/1918
Memorial: Dawlish Memorial Inscription LUSCOMBE F.S. A.B. H.M.S.MAGIC

Service History

Frederick Samuel Luscombe joined the Royal Navy as a Boy Seaman in January 1898. He signed on for a 12 year engagement on 4th May 1900, supposedly on his 18th birthday (he was actually 19). He had given his previous occupation as errand boy and date of birth as 11 May 1882 which is at variance with his registered date of birth. He was recorded in the 1901 census as an Ordinary Seaman aboard H.M.S.HIGHFLYER, a 2nd class cruiser and flagship on the East Indies and North America Station.

In 1911 Frederick was an Able Seaman aboard H.M.S.NEMESIS, a Destroyer of the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla at Portland and involved later in the Battle of Jutland. He is shown as married and born in 1883 at Dawlish. His character references are all shown as ‘VG’.

In his 18 year career he was appointed to a number of shore bases and depot ships, to serve in smaller ships, and it was in this context that he was serving in H.M.S.MAGIC in 1918. She was a destroyer of the ‘Moon’ class, launched in 1915 and brought into service in 1916.

In April 1918 she was steaming off Fanad Head, a northerly point close to Londonderry, when she struck a mine and had bow damage. 25 men were killed in the explosion, including Able Seaman Luscombe.

Association with Dawlish

Frederick Samuel Luscombe was the grandson of Samuel Luscombe, age 61, a farm labourer and his wife Maria, 59, who in 1881 lived in Moor Park Road, Highweek. Samuel was born in Moretonhampstead and his wife was born in Gidleigh.

Their son, Henry Luscombe, a gardener, was born Lustleigh in 1851 and the 1881 census shows him living next door to his parents, with his wife Mary Ann, born in Ideford, 1853, and their children, John Edward (1875-1951), William Henry (1878- ) and Frederick S, aged 3 months (GRO birth ref 1880 Oct/Dec, Newton Abbot, vol 5b, p 133), all born in Highweek, Newton Abbot.

Henry Luscombe died aged 34 in 1884 (GRO ref Newton Abbot, June, vol 5b, p 91).

In 1891 the widow Mary Ann Luscombe was living at 15 Exeter Road, Highweek, with John, an errand boy, Fred, aged 11 and a scholar, and Florence (1883 - ).

In 1898 the widow Mary Ann Luscombe of 16 King Street,Dawlish, married Arthur George Hill at Newton Abbot Registry Office, on 26 December. They lived at Luscombe Terrace at the time of Frederick's death (see Dawlish Gazette report in Documents).

In Q4 1910 Frederick married Beatrice Down (1883- ) in Newton Abbot district. She was a twin daughter of George and Elizabeth Down of Hillhead, Mamhead, where he was a shepherd. The family are shown there in the 1891 and 1901 censuses. Beatrice and her twin Blanche had been born in Kingsteignton. Frederick and Beatrice later set up home at 2 Clifton Place, Dawlish and they appear to have had a son.

Devon Roll of Honour Luscombe, Fredrk Samuel, A.B., H.M.S.Magic, 10th Apr 1918
Additional Information Commonwealth War Graves Site

Next of Kin: Beatrice Luscombe, widow, 3 Exe View Cottages, St Thomas, Exeter
Last Known Address: 2, Clifton Place, Dawlish

Moon class destroyer 1916

Plymouth Naval War Memorial, The Hoe, with poppy wave installation, November 2017

Free BMD refs

Dawlish Gazette (see Documents)

refs via subscription sites:

UK Royal Navy and Royal Marines War Graves Roll

BMD and census records

Luscombe family tree(Ancestry).