Arthur Ernest Tribe

Cadet - Merchant Navy

Background Information


East Ham - 17 November 1900



Cadet - Merchant Navy



16 November 1917 age 16

Arthur Ernest Tribe (also known as Ernest) was born in East Ham on 17 November 1900 to Arthur Ernest Tribe (born 1868 in Gosport) and Eliza (née Kerr, born 1869 in Portsmouth). In the 1901 Census Arthur is listed as living at 541 Romford Road, Forest Gate, East Ham with his parents and 4 siblings – 2 brothers, George Alfred (born 26/10/1895) and Walter John (born 25/11/1896), and 2 sisters, May (born 1887) and Lilian (Lily) Daisy (born 09/01/1893). Arthur’s father is listed as a Chief Mariner in the Merchant Navy. They were at the time able to employ 16 year old Minnie Webster as General Domestic Servant. 2 further brothers were born before the 1911 Census – Albert Frank (1902) and Norman (1908).
The first school that Arthur attended was Lynton House School, Gravesend. This was a Private school run by 2 sisters, which also went under the name of Miss Kennedy’s. A Plaque on the gate stated it was a school for the sons and daughters of gentlefolk. It was run by Florence Kennedy and her younger sister – Ethel Kennedy. They also employed Elizabeth Noble in 1911 (1911 Census). Situated at 119 Darnley Road, Lynton House became part of the County School for Girls in 1919 (which was later known as Gravesend Grammar School for Girls, and now known as Mayfield Grammar School). The building was demolished in 1970.
Arthur continued his education at The Gravesend County Day School (now Gravesend Grammar School) from 1910-14. The County Day School had been originally opened in 1893 as a school of science and art, located in Darnley Street close to Gravesend Railway Station. (With the move of Gravesend Grammar School in 1938 to its present site in Milton Road, the original school building is now the Victoria Centre for Adult Education). Lilian also attended the School from 1908, George and Walter from 1907 and Albert from 1914. By the time that Arthur and his siblings attended the School, the 1902 Education Act had been passed and the school had become a recognised Secondary School. Although still a fee-paying school, there were scholarships available, however it is unknown as to whether Arthur and his siblings were scholarship pupils. The Headmaster at the time was H F A Wigley, BA, FCS. The family address according to the School Admissions Register in 1910 was 92 Pelham Road, Gravesend.
The Tribe family were listed at the same address in the 1911 Census, father Arthur was now working as a Captain in the Merchant Navy for the Red Star Line, and they employed 25 year old Annie Smith as their General Domestic Servant. All the Tribe children, except the eldest daughter, May, were still living at home with their parents. Brother Walter died in early 1912.
At the outbreak of World War One, Arthur had left school and enlisted in the Merchant Navy as a Cadet, training on HMS Worcester at Greenhithe. He served on the SS Mantola, a 450 foot steamer owned by the British India Steam Navigation Company from June 1916. In October of that year the ship struck a mine off Aldeburgh, but managed to make it back to port. Setting sail from London to Calcutta on 4 February 1917, with passengers and cargo (including a shipment of silver) the SS Mantola was hit by a torpedo from the German Submarine U-81 4 days later on the 8 February, 143 miles off Fastnet. All but 7 crew members, who drowned when their lifeboat capsized, survived the sinking, as the HMS Laburnum came to the rescue. Although Arthur Tribe survived the shipwreck, he appears to have at some point in his travels contracted malaria, and on 16 November 1917 he died age 16. His death certificate states that he died of Malignant Malaria and Anaemia at the family home – now 21 Holligrave Road, Bromley.
Arthur Ernest Tribe is buried at Gravesend Cemetery in the family plot – Grave 467 (Section 31/A29).
Father Arthur Tribe gained the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Naval Reserves. Brother Albert Tribe followed his father and his elder brother into the Merchant Navy, gaining his UK Ireland Masters and Mates Certificate on 2 February 1923. Later becoming a Captain and a Pilot of Trinity House he married the Honourable Winifred Cavendish on 13 December 1929, going on to change his name by Deed Poll in 1944 to Albert Frank Cavendish-Tribe. His son Barry Cavendish-Tribe, also attended the School from 1942-1945 (the family at the time living at 62 The Fairway, Gravesend), he too became a Master Mariner and a Pilot of Trinity House.

Gravesend Cemetery