This story is the result of an investigation of documents held by Surrey History Centre. The file (SHC ref. CC7/4/4, nos. 1-50) contains correspondence and insurance claims on behalf of Surrey County Council Education Department employees who had been killed in action during the Great War. The cases date from 1915-1918.
Case 11: Frank Vincent Wise
F.V. Wise was a signalman on the HMS Invincible, and one of the 1,026 officers and men killed in action when the ship sunk during the Battle of Jutland. The ship was engaged with the German cruiser Derflinger, which is said to have taken many hits, before being hit. The explosion caused the ship to break in half and quickly sink, with only 6 men managing to survive the attack and subsequent wreckage. One of those survivors, Commander Hubert E. Dannreuther, wrote to the mother of Wise following the attack, describing him as a ‘fine fellow and much respected and liked’. He informed her that the battle was successful in strengthening the naval position against the Germans – more so than what was being printed in the papers – and that therefore the many ‘sudden and painless’ deaths were not in vain.
Katherine Wise, Frank’s mother, was approximately 60 years old at the time of her son’s death. She was a widow and had no other children, or relatives that lived near to her. It is apparent that she was receiving a sum of money from her late husband’s employer, but that this was not a fixed or permanent amount, and beyond this she had no means. The insurance money from her son was given in weekly amounts.