1. Memorial:Portsmouth Naval Memorial Hampshire
2. Book:The (1921) Masonic Roll of Honour 1914-1918Pg.132
3. Memorial:The (1940) Scroll - WW1 Roll of Honour6C GQS

Awards & Titles:

Queen's South Africa Medal
1914-15 Star
British War Medal
Victory Medal

Family :

John Spencer Place was born on 20th February 1875 in Warrington, Lancashire, son of the late Mr. and Mrs. E. Place, of Warrington, Lancs.; husband of Clara Winifred Place, of 2, Warrender Park Terrace, Edinburgh.

Service Life:


Unit / Ship / Est.: HMS Barham 

HMS BARHAM was build at John Brown shipbuilders, Clydebank and launched 31st December 1914, Took part at the Battle of Jutland. was hit six times and was under repair for 5 weeks.

Action : Jutland 

The Battle of Jutland was the largest naval battle of World War I, and the only full-scale clash of battleships in that war. It is considered to be the largest conventional naval battle in history. It was fought on 31 May - 1 June 1916, in the North Sea near Jutland, Denmark. The combatants were the Imperial German Navy's High Seas Fleet, commanded by Vice-Admiral Reinhard Scheer, and the British Royal Navy's Grand Fleet, commanded by Admiral Sir John Jellicoe. The German fleet's intention was to lure out, trap and destroy a portion of the Grand Fleet, as the German numbers were insufficient to engage the entire British fleet at one time. This formed part of a larger strategy to break the British blockade of the North Sea and to allow German mercantile shipping to operate. Meanwhile, the Royal Navy pursued a strategy to engage and destroy the High Seas Fleet, or keep the German force bottled up and away from Britain's own shipping lanes. Considered a tactical victory for the Germans but a resounding strategic victory for the British.

Place joined the Royal Navy on 15th January 1892, and was posted as an Assistant Clerk aboard the battleship H.M.S. Victoria from 21st January 1892, before being posted shortly afterwards to the battleship H.M.S. Collingwood from 29th January 1892, returning to Victoria from 11th April 1892, seeing service in the Mediterranean, but was fortunate to be posted to the Orlando Class armoured cruiser H.M.S. Immortalite from 19th May 1893, as on 22nd June 1893, Victoria collided with Camperdown during fleet exercises, and sank with the loss of 358 men drowned out of a complement of 583 crew on board. Place was then posted to the cruiser H.M.S. Blenheim from 26th May 1894 and promoted to Clerk, being then posted ashore for service at Sheerness Barracks from 16th January 1896, where he was commissioned as an Assistant Paymaster, this being an officer's rank, and was then posted aboard the ironclad masted turret ship H.M.S. Monarch from 26th January 1897 being present aboard her during the Boer War when she was serving as Guardship at Simon's Town, receiving the Queen's South Africa Medal 1899-1902, without clasp. Following his service during the Boer War, Place was posted to the Torpedo School H.M.S. Defiance from 7th May 1901, followed by the sloop H.M.S. Cormorant from 6th February 1902, and whilst aboard her was promoted to Paymaster on 6th December 1904. Place was then posted to the cruiser and depot ship H.M.S. Forth from 20th May 1905, seeing service aboard another depot ship H.M.S. Thames during this period, and was then posted to the Devonshire Class armoured cruiser H.M.S. Antrim from 4th June 1907, he was then aboard her during the Second Cruiser Squadron Goodwill tour of South America and South Africa in 1908, for which he received the special commemorative medal with 8 clasps for visits to Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth, Simonstown, Capetown, St. Helena, Rio de Janeiro, and Monte Video, before being promoted to Staff Paymaster on 6th December 1908. Place was posted to the Astraea Class armoured cruiser H.M.S. Fox from June 1910, and from 5th October 1912 was posted ashore to attend a course at the shore base H.M.S. President, and having passed was then promoted to Fleet Paymaster, the equivalent rank to Commander on 6th December 1912.

See also: Anglo-Boer War.

Detail :

He was aboard H.M.S. Southampton,a Town Class light cruiser, and was present aboard her at the outbreak of the Great War as part of the 1st Light Cruiser Squadron, and would have been present at the First Battle of Heligoland Bight on 28th August 1914, and at the Battle of Dogger Bank on 24th January 1915, before being posted to the Queen Elizabeth class battleship H.M.S. Barham from 2nd July 1915. Barham was commissioned in August 1915, joining the 5th Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet based at Scapa Flow as flagship on 2nd October 1915. On 1st December 1915 Barham collided with her sister ship H.M.S. Warspite, with both ships receiving considerable damage, Barham was however repaired by 23rd December 1915. Place was present aboard Barham when she was flagship to Admiral Hugh Evan-Thomas and the 5th Battle Squadron, attached to Admiral Beaty's battlecruiser fleet. During the battle Barham fired 337 15-inch shells and 25 6-inch shells during the battle. The number of hits cannot be confirmed, but it is believed that she and her sister ship H.M.S. Valiant made 23 or 24 hits between them, making them two of the most accurate warships in the British fleet, however Barham received six hits during the battle, five from 12-inch shells and one from an 11-inch, suffering casualties of 26 killed and 46 wounded, with Fleet Paymaster Place being killed in action at Jutland on 31st May 1916, being possibly the only man of this rank killed in action during the battle.

See also: Royal Navy News.
See also: Jutland 1915 - HMS Barham.

John was present at the Battle of the Dogger Bank, when at 1pm on 24th January, 1915 the SMS Blücher was subject to 50 hits from the British Fleet. Blücher’s final moments were captured by the camera of Fleet Paymaster John Spencer Place aboard one of the cruisers which closed in for the kill. The image became one of the most dramatic images of the Great War at sea.

Probate PLACE John Spencer of Honiton Devonshire fleet paymaster R.N. died 31 May 1916 on board H.M.S Barham in action off the coast of Jutland in the North Sea Probate Exeter 12 August to Clara Winifred Place widow. Effects £1090 4s. 1d.

John was buried at sea, and his name was commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

Masonic :

TypeLodge Name and No.Province/District :
Mother : Royal Lodge of Friendship No. 278 E.C.Gibraltar

3rd February 1909
13th February 1909
20th February 1909

Recorded as a 32 year old paymaster aboard H.M.S. Antrim upon his initiation in 1909. The contribution record shows no payments of dues after 1915 and no annotation as to what happened to John.

Source :

The project globally acknowledges the following as sources of information for research across the whole database:

Additional Source:

Last Updated: 2020-03-21 10:30:47