Regiment : H.M.S. Queen Mary Royal Navy
Service number : 302873
Conflict : WW1
Date of death : 31st May 1916 aged 34
Buried : Commemorated on Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire, England, Panel 17.
Relatives : Son of Mr. and Mrs. Jobe Brownhill, 18 Low Town, Holly Hall, Dudley, Worcestershire
Memorial : Dudley St Augustine of Hippo WW1 Memorial
Also appears on : Dudley St Augustine of Hippo Church Holly Hall. Dudley War Memorial.
Credits : Researched by James Taylor. Census records, Royal Navy records, HMS Queen Mary information and Worcester Cathedral Roll of Honour books researched by Sandra Taylor.
Additional information on the memorial: R.N.
Appears in the Worcester/Worcestershire Roll of Honour Book for navy casualties located in Worcester Cathedral.
James Henry Brownhill was born on the 3rd May 1884 in Dudley, Worcestershire, one of at least six children of Job and Rebecca (nee Parsons) Brownhill who had married in 1880. In 1891 the family consisting of Job, Rebecca and their 3 sons, James aged 8, Daniel aged 3 and Charles aged 2 months lived at 10 High Street, Dudley. By 1901 the family had moved to 13-14 Low Town, Dudley and consisted of Job, Rebecca, James aged 19, Daniel aged 12, Joshua aged 8, Esther aged 4 and Sarah aged 2. In 1911 the family are living at 18 Low Town, Holly Hall, Dudley with James was recorded as a ‘stoker on ship’.
James enlisted in the Royal Navy as Stoker 2nd Class on 8th January 1903 at the age of 18 for a period of 12 years when he was recorded as 5 feet 3½ inches tall with black hair, brown eyes and a dark complexion. Over the next 12 years he served on many ships and rose to the rank of Stoker 1st Class despite spending varying amounts of time in the ‘cells’ for unrecorded misdemeanours. James transferred to HMS Queen Mary on 31st January 1914 and the service records available show he was still with ship in August 1915 although his 12 years with the navy expired in January of that year. It is therefore probable that he extended his service for the duration of the war and was subsequently killed in action on 31st May 1916 at the battle of Jutland.
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. There were only 9 survivors. The loss of the Queen Mary was the greatest single British naval loss of the First World War.
James Brownhill has no known grave, the photograph available shows his name on Portsmouth Naval Memorial.