Chief Officer - Merchant Navy - SS Merel
Arthur Albert Clemence was born on 27th February 1908 in Gravesend, Kent. His father was Horace Frederick Clemence, a River Pilot, and his mother was Rachel Florence (née Samuels). The first school he attended was Parrock House School in Gravesend. The 1911 Census lists him living with his grandparents Isaac and Mary Samuels at 3 Portland Cottages, Sun Lane, together with his four-year-old sister Clara Esther. Arthur’s mother was already widowed and at the time was living and working in Dartford as a Domestic servant. Rachel Clemence re-married in 1915 to Charles Peskett, but she was widowed for a second time in 1937.
In 1916 Arthur Clemence joined The County School for Boys – now known as Gravesend Grammar School). The Head Master at that time was the Henry F A Wigley. The County School for Boys was located in Darnley Road, Gravesend close to the Railway Station. In 1938 the School moved to brand new premises in Church Walk, Milton, Gravesend opposite to Milton Church.
The School’s Admission Register lists Arthur’s home address as Windermere, Pelham Road, Gravesend.
In 1922 Arthur left the School and joined the Merchant Navy. By the time that World War Two started in 1939 he was the Chief Officer of the SS Merel, a cargo ship. On the 8th December 1939 the ship struck a mine and sank in The Downs, off Kent, west of the Gull Lightship, with the loss of sixteen of her eighteen crew. Arthur Clemence was one of those lost, age 31. One of his fellow crewmates also lost, was Stanley Holland, another Old Boy of the County School. Arthur is remembered at the Tower Hill Memorial Panel 70.
There are links below to Newspaper Clippings and Photographs from the Gravesend Grammar School Archives.
Also links to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website and a few other websites that might be of interest: