1. Memorial:Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon
2. Book:The (1921) Masonic Roll of Honour 1914-1918Pg.115
3. Memorial:The (1940) Scroll - WW1 Roll of Honour7C GQS

Awards & Titles:


Early Life :

Born in 1863, the son of Francis Cooke Alton (Chief Inspector of Machinery R.N.) and Margaret Woolley Alton, of 1, Vicarage Rd., King's Heath, Birmingham. Devonport by birth, Devonport by nature and it is no surprise that his family have a history with the Royal Navy.

Family :

Probate was granted in 1917 to George Baltie Alton - retired Engineer Commander R.N. Effects £1788 3s 8d.

Education & Career :

Naval Officer

Service Life:


Unit / Ship / Est.: HMS Defence 

HMS Defence was a Minotaur-class armoured cruiser of the Royal Navy, launched in 1907. She was the last armoured cruiser built for the Royal Navy and was sunk at the Battle of Jutland. The wreck is designated under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986. Displacement: 14,600 tons Length: 490 ft (150 m) between perpendiculars 519 ft (158 m) overall Beam: 74.5 ft (22.7 m) Draught: 26 ft (7.9 m) Propulsion: 24 Yarrow boilers 4 Cylinder Triple-expansion engines 2 shafts, 3-bladed propellers 27,000 hp Speed: 22.9 knots Complement: 54 officers 849 enlisted 903 total Armament: 4 ? BL 9.2-inch (233.7 mm) Mk XI guns (2 ? 2) 10 ? BL 7.5-inch (190.5 mm) Mk V guns (10 ? 1) 16 ? QF 12 pounder 18 cwt guns (16 ? 1) 5 ? 18 in (457 mm) torpedo tubes, submerged

Action : Jutland - HMS Defence (sinking of) 

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.

Detail :

He is recorded in the record of ships in service in 1894 as being the Assistant Paymaster on HMS Defence, the vessel on which he was to lose his life at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916. This longevity of service in one ship is indicative of the reason why so many freemasons in the Royal Navy were able to enjoy the ability to meet at lodge reasonably regularly, as they had little disruption. It also explains why when disaster overtook a ship and it was lost in battle or through accident, so many freemasons died.

Masonic :

TypeLodge Name and No.Province/District :
Mother : Royal Alfred No. 877 E.C.Jersey
Joined : St. John & St. Paul No. 349 E.C. Malta

14th July 1896
11th August 1896
11th September 1896

He was initiated into Royal Alfred Lodge No. 877 in 1912, when serving in Guernsey as an Assistant Paymaster aboard HMS Rowan. He defaulted on subscriptions for this Lodge in 1902 and was subsequently erased by 1904 under Rule 175.

Joined St. Johns and St. Pauls Lodge in Malta on 3rd February 1912 from Royal Alfred Lodge. He was recorded as a Fleet Paymaster serving aboard HMS Exmouth.

Source :

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

Additional Source:

Last Updated: 2020-11-21 16:02:04