Charles John Bates was born on 6 December 1903 in Deptford, London, a son of Thomas Alfred Bates (1875-1936) and Elizabeth Louisa Bates née Manley (1878-1962). His birth was registered in the 1st quarter of 1904 in the Greenwich registration district, London. Confusingly, when he was baptised on 30 December 1903 at St Luke's Church, 190 Evelyn St, London SE8, his date of birth was recorded as 6 November 1903, which is at variance with other records for this man. It does show that his family resided at 33 Junction Road, Deptford and that his father was a dock labourer.
On 24 April 1920, aged 16 years, he joined the Royal Navy as a Boy Class II, service number Chatham J97055. He confirmed his date and place of birth as 6 December 1903 at Deptford and claimed to be labourer. He was initially attached to HMS Ganges, a shore based training establishment at Shotley Gate, Ipswich, Essex. Promoted to Boy Class I on 13 February 1921, he was posted to the battleships HMS Erin on 30 March 1921 and HMS Royal Oak on 9 April 1921 to complete his training. On 6 December 1921, his 18th birthday, he signed on for 12 years service and was rated as an Ordinary Seaman. He was promoted to Able Seaman on 10 July 1923 and saw service on many ships until he was discharged on 5 December 1933 at the expiration of his 12 years service.
He married Dorothy Lilian Harrison in the 3rd quarter of 1931 in the Lewisham registration district.
The 1939 England and Wales Register confirms his date of birth as 6 December 1903 and described him as general skilled labourer - engineer and attached to the Home Office Fire Brigade. He was married and living at 105 Castlecombe Road, London SE9.
He was injured, aged 40 years, as result of enemy action when a German V1 Flying Bomb fell on the Royal Victoria Yard on 16 August 1944 killing seven and injuring 74 people. He was taken to the Miller Hospital, Greenwich High Road, London, SE10, where he died later that day. He is shown as Bates C on the Royal Victoria Yard war memorial that is located at The Colonnade, Grove Street, London, SE8 and as Bates, Charles John on the Civilian War Dead Roll of Honour 1939-1945 that is kept just outside the entrance to St George's Chapel at the west end of Westminster Abbey He is also commemorated on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's website and on the Lewisham War Memorials website.
Credit for this entry to: Andrew Behan.