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lymnJoseph Ewart Lymn was born on 18 August 1886 in Oldbury, with his birth being registered in West Bromwich, the son of Charles and Ann Lymn. He married an Eva Mason in Ipswich in 1911, and at some point the family moved to 87 Upper Zoar Street in Wolverhampton, hence he is included on this blog. They had two children registered as being born in Wolverhampton, Kenneth P. in 1913 and Joseph J. in 1914.

Joseph served as a regular in the Royal Navy. He joined up as a Boy 2nd Class on 17 December 1901, and was promoted to Boy 1st Class the following year. On turning 18 in 1904 he was rated Ordinary Seaman, and began his 12 year enlistment at that point. However, in September 1909 he bought himself out, and the remainder of his service was in the Royal Fleet Reserve. He was thus recalled to the Royal Navy in 1914 as Able Seaman 218307. He served on the HMS Good Hope, an armoured cruiser built around 1900 and re-commissioned in 1914. Under the command of Rear Admiral Christopher Cradock, the ship was based off the coast of South America, in order to block German attempts at penetrating into the South Atlantic. Unfortunately they were vastly outnumbered by the German fleet and the HMS Good Hope was sunk on 1 November 1914 during the Battle of Coronel, with the loss of all its crew. The Register of Joseph’s service with the Royal Navy can be found at the National Archives.

Because Joseph’s body was lost at sea, he is officially commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, as well as on a plaque in Beckminster Methodist Church, Penn Fields. He was mentioned in the Midland Counties Express on 21 November 1914. His name is also apparently remembered on the family grave in St Philip’s churchyard, Penn Fields, together with that of his 17-day-old son, Joseph Jellicoe Lymn, who died on 17 September 1914.

Joseph’s service is remarkably similar to that of Alfred Bashford of Nutfield who was a year older. Bashford was also recalled in 1914 and went down with HMS Good Hope. Naval reservists were first called up in mid July 1914, and the ships also brought out of reserve. There was a fleet review, and then the reservists were sent home on leave for a few days from 25-30 July, they returned to their ships on 31 July as tensions mounted.