1. Memorial:Plymouth Naval Memorial17 Devon
2. Book:The (1921) Masonic Roll of Honour 1914-1918Pg.129
3. Memorial:The (1940) Scroll - WW1 Roll of Honour33C GQS

Awards & Titles:


Family :

Son of Walter and Ellen N. McLean, of Duncannon House, Dartmouth. Native of Plymouth.

Military :


Unit :HMS Defence 
Attached : 
Action :Jutland - HMS Defence (sinking of) 

Detail :

McLEAN, Walter, Ship's Steward, HMS Defence.

HMS Defence was the flagship of Rear Admiral Sir Robert Arbuthnot, leading the First Cruiser Squadron at the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916. The other ships of the squadron (HMS Warrior, HMS Duke of Edinburgh, and HMS Black Prince) were of a similar outmoded class. HMS Defence was engaged in the follow up attack on the German Light Cruiser SMS "Wiesbaden" which had been disabled by a shell from HMS ?Invincible? (which had many freemasons on board who died in the battle). While closing for the kill at high speed with the SMS "Wiesbaden", which was drifting and crippled between the German and British fleets, HMS Defence presented a target for the combined firepower of the German battlecruisers, whose proximity was hidden by smoke and mist. After initial damage she was struck by a salvo which blew up her after magazine, triggering explosions on the ammunition rails leading to the broadside 7.5 inch guns. Within seconds, another salvo immediately hit forward, and she blew up in a spectacular explosion, sinking with the loss of Arbuthnot and her entire complement of 903 men. The following extract from the Official History; "Naval Operations by Sir Julian S. Corbett. 1923 tells that ?Both the Defence and Warrior had already hit the doomed Wiesbaden. Still Admiral Arbuthnot, in spite of straddling salvoes, held on till within 5,500 yards of his prey he turned to starboard. Both ships were now in a hurricane of fire, which the Germans were concentrating with terrible effect to save their burning ship, and there quickly followed another of the series of appalling catastrophes which so tragically distinguish this battle from all others. Four minutes after crossing the Lion's bows the Defence was hit by two heavy salvoes in quick succession, and the Admiral and his flagship disappeared in a roar of flame (06.20hrs). The Warrior barely escaped a similar fate. Needless to say Walter McLEAN's body had ceased to exist and he is remembered with the rest of the crew on the Plymouth Naval Memorial. 12 Freemasons died on HMS "Defence" at Jutland. Brothers ALTON, BOGGIA, DYER, HOWES, McLEAN, MOSS, REYNOLDS, ROBERTS, SANDHAM, SHAPTER, TAYLOR, WHARMBY. Sources CWGC Official History; Naval Operations by Sir Julian S. Corbett. 1923 "Der Krieg in der Nordzee" quoted in Jutland: The German Perspective, Tarrant 1995.

Masonic :

TypeLodge Name and No.Province/District :
Mother : Lodge of St George No. 2025 E.C.Devonshire

21st April 1904
21st May 1904
28th June 1904

William was a 23 year old Ship's Steward on HMS "Impregnable" at the time of his initiation in 1904, into Lodge of St. George. His contribution record is unblemished and shows no war service, which is closed out with "Died Decr 1915," which is very much at odds with the demise of HMS Defence.

Source :

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Additional Source:

Last Updated: 2020-11-21 16:15:42