Regiment : H.M.S. Queen Mary Royal Navy
Service number : J25480
Conflict : WW1
Date of death : 31st May 1916 aged 19
Place of death : Battle of Jutland, North Sea
Buried : Commemorated on Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon, England, Panel 12.
Relatives : Son of James and Edith Badger, 6 East Comer, Worcester
Memorial : Worcester Guildhall
Also appears on : Worcester St John in Bedwardine Church. Worcester St David's Church, with photograph and the information: A.B. H.M.S. Queen Mary, Killed, Jutland Battle, May 31st 1916. Hallow St Philip and St James's Church with the information: A.B. H.M.S. Queen Mary
Credits : Researched by John Watts and Sandra Taylor.
Appears in the Worcester/Worcestershire Roll of Honour Book for navy casualties located in Worcester Cathedral.
Herbert Badger was born on the 26th May 1897 at Holt, Worcestershire, one of ten children of James and Edith Badger. He was enrolled at St John’s Boys School on 2nd November 1903, leaving the school on 26th June 1911, aged 14 when he was ‘over age’. In 1911 the family lived at 6 Happy Land West, St John’s, Worcester when his father was an employer blacksmith and Herbert was working as a hairdresser’s assistant between school hours. Sometime between 1911 and May 1916 the family moved to 6 East Comer, St John’s, Worcester.
Herbert enlisted in the Royal Navy as Boy 2nd Class in 1913, serving first on HMS Impregnable from the 9th June 1913 until 22nd September 1913 and then on HMS Powerful until 23rd May 1914, being promoted to Boy 1st Class on 3rd May 1914. After HMS Powerful he served on several ships – Royal Arthur, Pembroke I and Vivid I. At the time of his enlistment he was a blacksmith’s mate, probably working with his father. On 3rd January 1915 he joined HMS Queen Mary and was promoted to Ordinary Seamen on the 26th May 1915 aged 18 when his period of engagement was extended to twelve years.
HMS Queen Mary was a Lion Class Battle Cruiser. Built in 1913 for speed and long range, she displaced 26500 tons with a main armament of 8 x 13.5 inch guns and 16 x 4 inch guns. On 31st May 1916 she was part of the 1st Battlecruiser Squadron under Vice Admiral Beatty who engaged the German battlecruiser group of Vice Admiral Franz Hipper. During this battle HMS Queen Mary was hit and blew up with a loss of 1,266 men, including Herbert Badger. There were only 9 survivors. The loss of the Queen Mary was the greatest single British naval loss of the First World War.
On 10th June 1916 Berrows Worcester Journal reported as follows:
Worcester Boy’s end on the Queen Mary
Seaman Herbert Badger, aged 19, the youngest son of Mr and Mrs James Badger 6, East Comer, went down on the Queen Mary. He was an Old St John’s School boy, and a Boy Scout who joined the Navy 3 years ago. His three brothers have been serving, one was wounded whilst serving with the Coldstream Guards and is now in hospital, one is with the Army Medical Corps and one on HMS Dado.
A photograph of Ordinary Seaman Herbert Badger can be found in Berrow’s Worcester Journal Supplement, Saturday 1st July 1916, available at Worcestershire Archives.
Herbert Badger has no known grave, the photograph available shows his name on Plymouth Naval Memorial.