Regiment : H.M.S. Swiftsure Royal Navy
Service number : K2833
Conflict : WW1
Date of death : 24th July 1918
Buried : East London Cemetery, Plaistow, Kerb Wall. Grave 8017.
Memorial : Aston Fields War Memorial
Credits : Family information copyright and courtesy of Dr David C.B. Nokes, Grand-Nephew of Wilfred. August 2014.
Wilfred Gaskin was baptised on 13 January 1884 at Christ Church, Catshill, Bromsgrove, son of John and Elizabeth Gaskin (nee Tranter). At the time of his baptism the family had moved to Stoney Hill (off New Road), Bromsgrove; subsequently they resided in Carlyle Road/Factory Road in Aston Fields, Bromsgrove. By 1901 he had left home, for in the Bromsgrove 1901 census, as Fred Gaskin, he was living at 26 St John’s Street, Bromsgrove, in the house of John Cooke, Baker, as a Servant and Journeyman Baker. In the 1911 census he was serving on HMS Minotaur in Hong Kong.
On 17 May 1909 he signed on into the Royal Navy for twelve years, his immediate previous occupation then being a mill stone dresser. He served successively in various ships but his main wartime service was on the Queen, Victory II and finally Alleution II(?) (Swiftsure). He was a Stoker and then a Leading Stoker on Discharge. He is described in his Naval Service Record as being 5 feet 3¾ inches tall with dark brown hair, grey eyes and a fresh complexion.
About 1917 he wrote a letter to his niece, Marjorie Evelyn Gaskin, thanking her for her present to him. The letter was addressed from HMS Swiftsure and is in the possession of the author of this account of his life. He survived the period of naval service during the First World War though sadly he was not to complete his full twelve years of service. He was taken from his ship, H.M.S. Swiftsure, in the Royal Albert Dock, London and died in the Seaman’s Hospital, Silvertown, West Ham, London on 24 July 1918, aged 34, after suffering from broncho-pneumonia for twelve days. He is buried as a Leading Stoker, Service No. K/2833 at the East London Cemetery, Grange Road, Plaistow, London in a grave reference Kerb Wall 8017.
Wilfred was never to marry. From his will probate was granted to his brother, George (who lived in Finstall Road, Aston Fields), at Worcester with effects totalling 261 pounds 5 shillings and 2 pence.