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Benjamin Hook was born on 4 August 1886 in Surbiton, in Surrey, the son of George and Sarah Hook (nee Harry). In 1891 he was living with his parents, three brothers (George, Frederick and Joe) and two sisters (Eliza and Milly) at 4 Ivy Cottage, Kingston. By 1901 Benjamin is living with his grandmother, Eliza Harry, at 5 German Place, Alpha Road, Surbiton, alongside his mother and his uncle, William Harry. His father, George, had died later in 1891. By this date Benjamin (here listed as “Hood”) has become a Mill Boy.

On 4 August 1904 Benjamin enlisted in the Royal Navy at the age of 18, and he served on a number of ships before the war broke out. On the 1911 census he is listed as a Stoker 1st Class with the Navy at Portsmouth. On 8 April 1912 he married Fanny Richards at Tettenhall Church, and the couple went on to have two children – Phyllis (1915) and Benjamin T. V. (1917). From July 1916, he served on the HMS Ghurka. This ship was sunk after hitting a mine on 8 February 1917, killing 74 crew members. Only 5 survived, but Benjamin Hook was not one of them. He is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, and on the war memorial at St Michael and All Angel’s Church, Tettenhall.

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