Sunday, February 08, 2015

SS11770 Leading Stoker Aubrey Lorenzo Russell Tapp, HMS Marmeluke

Aubrey Lorenzo Russell Tapp was born on at Chailey on 19th February 1897.  He appears on the 1901 census as the second youngest member of a nine-strong household.  The family was living at South Common, Chailey and was headed by Joseph Tapp (a 48 year old thatcher from Barcombe) and his wife, Fanny Tapp aged 43, also born in Barcombe.  The family’s six children are noted as James Tapp (aged 18, an agricultural labourer), Harry Tapp (aged 16, an agricultural labourer), Fanny Tapp (aged 14), William Tapp (aged 11), Archie Tapp (aged seven), Aubrey (aged four) and Ashley Tapp (six months).  A 28 year old James Tapp (Chailey born, boarding at Bridge Cottage and working as an agricultural labourer) is also noted on the 1901 census. 

There were also two other children from the marriage.  The 1891 census for Chailey notes a May Tapp (aged 12) and a Kate Tapp (aged 10), both born in Chailey and living with the family on South Common.   By the time the 1901 census was taken, May was working as a cook in the household of James E Odgers of 145 Woodstock Road, Oxford while Kate, (recorded as Kate Taff on the census), was working as a housemaid at ‘The Elms’, the house of Walter Mews in Portslade-by-Sea. 

Aubrey Tapp enlisted with the Royal Navy on 27th January 1916 for five years with the colours and seven on the Reserve.  It was noted that he was five feet, eight and a quarter inches tall, had dark brown hair, brown eyes and a fresh complexion.  He had a small brown birthmark on the back of his neck and a small scar on the top of his right cheek near the outside of his eye.  He gave his occupation as Dynamo Attendant.  He was given the number SS117470 and commenced his service with the Royal Navy by going straight to HMS Victory II (Portsmouth Naval Barracks) on 27th January 1916 with the rating stoker 2nd Class.  On 16th July he transferred to HMS Mameluke and remained with this ship for the remainder of the war.   

HMS Mameluke was a Moon (M) Class Destroyer launched on 14th August 1915.  It was sold for scrapping in September 1921.   
Aubrey Tapp was promoted to stoker 1st class on 1st December 1916 and awarded a good conduct badge on 26th January 1919.  He was demobbed on 31st January 1920, joining the Royal Fleet Reserve.  Throughout his service his character was noted as very good and his ability as satisfactory. 

Chailey Parish Magazine mentions Stoker A Tapp in its April 1916 issue noting that he is serving on HMS Diadem.  There is no mention of this in Aubrey Tapp’s service record and Ashley Tapp had yet to join the senior service.  Archie Tapp was already serving on HMS Euryalus.  In January 1917, the parish magazine notes that he is serving aboard HMS Mameluke and this information is repeated up to and including the final published roll call in July 1919. 

Aubrey’s brothers Archie, Ashley and Harry, and his cousins John and Frank Ford also served their King and Country during the First World War.

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