Frederick William King

Able Seaman - Merchant Navy - M V Thomas M

Background Information


9th November 1907



Able Seaman - Merchant Navy - M V Thomas M



25th November 1940 age 33

Frederick William King was born on 9 November 1907 in Edinburgh. His father was William Thomas King, an actor, and his mother, Annie Morrison. The first school that he attended was St John’s Roman Catholic School in Gravesend. Frederick’s father used the stage name of Wal Kent, he had a double act with Frederick’s mother, Annie, who was a singer. They also had a Punch and Judy show, and after World War Two, they started to make the puppets. William/Wal made the heads and his wife Annie made the costumes. They were regarded as being among the top makers in the country. At the British Puppet and Model Theatre Guild exhibition of 1951, they won the Davidson trophy for a Punch glove puppet.
In 1919 Frederick King 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 (now the Victoria Centre for Education). In 1938 the School moved to brand new premises in Church Walk, Milton, Gravesend opposite to Milton Church.
The School’s Admission Register lists Frederick’s address as 29 Brunswick Road, Gravesend.
In 1923 Frederick left the School and joined the Merchant Navy. By the time that the Second World War broke out, he was serving as an Able Seaman on the MV Thomas M, a coaster. On the 24th November 1940 the MV Thomas M struck a mine and sank in the North Sea off Gorleston on Sea, Suffolk. 7 crew members were lost. Frederick King was one of the survivors. He was taken to Great Yarmouth Hospital, but died the following day, age 33.
He was buried at Gravesend Cemetery on 29th November 1940.

There are links below to Newspaper Clippings and Photographs from the Gravesend Grammar School Archives.
Below are links to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website and a few other websites that might be of interest:

Gravesend Cemetery