Lieutenant Commander, Royal Navy (Retired) Thomas Hallett

Service Royal Navy
Rank Lieutenant Commander, Royal Navy (Retired)
Ship:HMS Zaria
Date of Birth: 13/09/1852
Born Broadclyst, Devon
Date of Death: 16/02/1918
Memorial: Dawlish Memorial Inscription HALLETT THOS. Lt Cdr H.M.S.ZARIA

Service History

The young Thomas Hallett signed on at the age of 18 on 13 September 1870 for 10 years’ service in the Royal Navy, and again in 1880 for another 10 years. After a period of training he served in H.M.S.Royal Alfred, the last wooden-hulled battleship to be built at Portsmouth. He was rated Able Seaman and when the ship was paid off into reserve he moved in 1874 to H.M.S.Cambridge, a triple-decker, 102-gun first-rate wooden-wall ship of the line, moored as a gunnery ship off Plymouth. He gained gunnery qualifications over following years and rated as Leading Seaman in March 1876 and Petty Officer, 1st Class in June 1879. Over the six years to 1881 his character reference is recorded as ‘exemplary.’

His S.206s are recorded in a ledger of his service and include such as: “All round an excellent Bosun. One of the best I have met with for a long time. Strongly recomm for Chief – Commander Atkinson” , and, “One of the best Bosuns I have been shipmates with during late years. Zealous, gets on well with the men, and is recomd for promotion.” Some of these references relate to a period of five years, from January 1900 – 1905 when he was appointed to the Deptford Victualling Yard.

Thomas Hallett was promoted again to Chief Boatswain on 1 April 1903 and to Lieutenant on 17 May 1906. He had thus risen through the ranks of lower deck to become a Warrant Officer and full Officer, R.N.

He retired for the first time on 5th September 1907, at his own request at age 55 and the record is marked, “Their Lordships’ appreciation expressed of zealous and conscientious manner in which he carried out his duties at the Victualling Yard, Deptford.

Thomas may have been placed once more on the Active List when promoted to Lieutenant Commander on 17 May 1914. In April 1915 the Navy List shows him as retired, but he was brought back into active service for, in 1915, 1916 and 1917 Navy Lists, he is shown as Lieut Cdr (Retd) serving aboard H.M.S.ZARIA (for Charge of Stores).

He was apppointed to “ZARIA” for c/o Stores on 25 January 1915.

H.M.S.ZARIA was sometimes described as an Armed Merchant Cruiser, although it was in fact a Depot Ship of 3,500 tons, based at Longhope, Orkney from 25 February 1915.

Thomas’ record shows that he was ‘sick on shore, muscular rheumatism’ on 12 October 1917 and his appointment was suspended on 21 December 1917. He died at home on 16th February 1918 of an enlarge Prostate, cystitis and blood poisoning. He was 65. His niece, Gladys Shapter, registered his death two days later.

The Western Times of 22 February 1918 reported on his death on the evening of Saturday 16 February at his home, ‘Meadowcroft’. His grave in Dawlish Cemetery is inscribed

To the Memory of my Dear Husband

Thomas Hallett , Lieut Comdr R.N.

Passed Away Feb 16th 1918, aged 64

"God moves in a mysterious way"

Also his wife, Emma

Passed away Jan 9th 1952, aged 90

Association with Dawlish

Thomas Hallett was the grandson of John and Elizabeth Hallett of Woodbury and the son of Thomas Hallett (1829- ) and Sophia Stevens (1832-1864). His young parents had farmed at Broadclyst where Thomas was born in 1852, but his family moved to Ashbrittle, Somerset ca 1855. Thomas, father, was a farmer and was at Greenham Barton, Ashbrittle for the 1861 census.

After the death of his wife, Sophia, in 1864, Thomas Hallett married again to Jane (?) as shown in the 1871 census at Landboat, Cheriton Fitzpaine. The children moved away when Thomas retired, and in 1891 is living at 1 Mount Pleasant, Wolborough, Newton Abbot with his wife Eliza Jane.

Thomas Hallett married Emma Shapter (born in Dawlish, ca 1862) in the Parish Church, Dawlish on 30th August 1884.

In 1891 Emma was living in 1 Brook Street, Dawlish with her parents Thomas and Emma Shapter and four other children aged between 22 and 33. (Thomas Shapter was born in Trusham, ca 1821, and worked as a Plumber and Decorator in Dawlish)
In 1901 Emma Hallet and her husband Thomas were living in the Royal Victoria Yard, Deptford with her widowed mother Emma Shapter, 71 and a neice Gladys, 7.

In 1911 Thomas and Emma Hallett were living at ‘Meadowcroft’, Barton Crescent, Dawlish and the niece, Gladys, 17, was shown as a ‘help’. There were no children from their marriage.

Devon Roll of Honour Hallett, Thomas, Lt Comdr, H.M.S.Zaria, 16th Feb 1918, Dawlish
Additional Information

Next of Kin: Emma Hallett, widow Probate was granted on 30th August 1918 as follows: Hallett, Thomas of Meadowcroft, Barton Crescent, Dawlish, Devonshire Lt Cdr RN, died 16 February 1918. Probate granted Exeter 30 August to Emma Hallett, widow. £479.16s.8d
Last Known Address: Meadow Croft, Barton Crescent, Dawlish


Service record (partial) in ledger


Thomas Hallett grave in Dawlish Cemetery

The Navy Lists,

Free BMD refs

wikipedia Accounts of additional group of ships requisitioned by the Admiralty during WW1 to augment the ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

Refs via subscription websites:

Census records

Alexander’s Family tree – Ancestry

UK, RN Seamans Index

Probate record

Marriage and Death Certificates