WRIGHT, John William

Leading Telegrapher John William Wright
B.Z/4858 Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve
Z/4858 Ordinary Seaman 4th Reserve Battalion – Collingwood, Royal Naval Division

John was born on 8th January 1894 at Pye Hill,  son of Joseph Wright a coal miner contractor from Heage and his wife Mary Ann (nee Wain). In 1911 the family was living at Providence Cottages, Pye Hill, Jacksdale. Joseph and Mary Ann had at that time been married for 21 years and had 6 children, of whom 3 had survived:- John William, Archibald and Merrell Elizabeth. Son Philip Henry born 1897 had died in 1900 aged 3 and daughter Lavinia born 1899 had died in 1900. In 1911 John William was aged 17 and employed as a clerk at the sanitary pipe works. His brother Archibald, aged 15, was a coal miner/ganger. John’s grandmother Hannah Wain, a widow aged 82, was lodging with them.

John joined the Navy on 10th December 1915. His height was noted as 5 feet 8 inches, complexion fresh with light brown hair and blue eyes. He gave his religion as Church of England and civilian occupation as a clerk, also stating that he could swim slightly. He attended Signal School and Wireless/Telegraphy Training School at Clapham. On 26th May 1916 John was posted to HMS Surf, a wireless-equipped hired yacht, embarking from Holyhead. Surf served at home and in the Mediterranean.

The Absent Voter’s Roll of 1918/1919 stated that John was serving with the R.N.V.R. aboard HMS Ganges under the service number of  TZ4858. HMS Ganges was was a shore-based training establishment, originally aboard the second HMS Ganges. She was in service between 1865 and 1976. During this period a number of other ships were renamed HMS Ganges whilst serving as the establishment, including HMS Minotaur between 1906 and 1908 and again between 1913 and 1919. RNTE Shotley (a shore-based training establishment set up in 1905 was HMS Ganges II from 1913 to 1919 and became Ganges from 1927 to 1976.

John served until 1st April 1919 and was awarded a war gratuity He was awarded the British War and Victory Medals.