Reginald Valentine King

Reginald Valentine King was born on 14th February 1900, and baptized at Lindow on 30 December 1900.  He was the youngest son of Elisha King and Susannah Edrich, both originally from Norfolk who lived on Brook Lane in Alderley Edge and later on Knutsford Road in Great Warford.

Reginald joined the Navy at the age of 15, serving as a Boy (Second  Class) then as a Boy (First Class), serving on HMS Powerful and HMS Defiance.  His naval record gives his service number as J44906, the letter prefix indicating that he was assigned to the Seamen and Communications branch.

By 1918, at the age of 18, he had progressed to Able Seaman and his naval service had officially began.  He later saw service on HMS Canada and HMS Thunderer, amongst others.

Later his record lists the remark “qualified for accelerated advancement”, and it is believed that he then moved into the Submarine Service and saw significant service in WW2.

He died in 1975.

The following information is very kindly provided by Reginald’s son, Robert:



I am Robert King son of Reginald King, thank you so much for the information supplied. I hope its not too late to add a few more insights to Reginald. He joined the Royal Navy in 1915 he was 15 years of age Cecil and Fred King were his elder brothers so the sacrifice of the family was significant. All three however made it through WW1 which is a blessing and unusual.
Reginald received training on HMS Powerful and HMS Defiance both shore based training ships. It was on Defiance that he probably began his training on torpedo operation. 1916-1918 he was on HMS Caesar my research suggests she was a guard ship to the island of Bermuda to protect from German surface raiders, my father spoke of being in the area of the West Indies during WW1. He gave service on many Royal Naval ships and apart from torpedoes he also was trained in sea mine demolition. It was this skill which probably saved his life. He was shore based in Singapore during 1942 functioning in a mine demolition team, and was there around the time when Singapore fell. Although shore based he was co-opted onto a Royal Naval ship because of his skill in torpedo operation. The ship was probably one of the last to leave Singapore before it fell. We believe it was a minesweeper and took many civilians as well the RN crew . As regards submarines, and in the latter part of WW2 he fun
ctioned as technical support and development. Much of the work he did was on midget submarines at Portsmouth and later in Scotland which at the time was classified as they were to used for D Day landings. He finally left the RN in 1945, after 30 years service. Awards he received for WW1 were the British War Medal, British Victory Medal and chevrons issued for 1916, 1917, 1918 good conduct awards.
I am very proud of my father particularly his courage to join up when he was only 15, later on in life I asked why he did it he simply said “For King and Country Son” Twenty four years later he was asked to do it again which he did willingly. We owe the many millions like my father so very much particularly those that gave their lives.
The above info is based on personal research and personal memories of Reginald King shared with me many years ago. Any inaccuracies may be due to the passage of time and a fading memory.

I would have loved to have attended the WW1 Commemoration events, unfortunately my health did not allow it
I hope this helps
Bob King, Nuneaton, Warks

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One Comment

  1. Since writing this letter, Robert King, the son of Reginald Valentine King has passed away.
    Robert King (known by his family as Bob) has passed away after a battle with cancer. He was my dad. My grandfather Reginald Valentines King died before I was born. But I grew up with stories of his service in WW1 and WW2 from my father. Our favourites as children were how Grandpa King had worked collecting stray mines that had become unanchored from the minefields. He would row to the mine and then have to get out the boat and swim to it to attach it to the boat. Once attached they would row it back to position. On one occasion he told my dad that the tide turned and that the mine was catching up with the boat…. they couldn’t row fast enough! There is another family story that he climbed the mast of the HMS Victory for fun and when he got down was put in the brigg and demoted as it was seen as an insult but he quickly regained his status.
    Thank you for posting my father’s letter. As the centenary of armistice approaches I was giving an assembly at school and stumbled on the website. So touched to see the words of my father who has recently passed away.
    Many thanks
    Rachel Williams nee King

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