Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

The parents of Cyril Joseph Jeffery were both born in Kent, John at Hadlow in 1857 and Catherine at Hastings in 1868. John Jeffery and Catherine Teresa Connor had married in 1885 shortly before they moved to Portsmouth, probably so that John could take up employment in the Dockyard. They took up residence at 4 Portsea View, off Charlotte Street.
Their first child John was born in 1887 to be followed by Mary (1891), William (1894), Maud (1896), Albert (1898), Cyril Joseph (1899) and Elsie (1902). By the 1911 Census the family had moved to 12 Spring Gardens in Southsea, quite a change from the bustle of the Commercial Road area and possibly financed by John's upgrade to Skilled Labourer in the Dockyard.
At the outbreak of the Great War Cyril Joseph was only 15 years of age but may have already established himself in a junior branch of the navy, as, unusually for a Portsmouth born lad he was Port Division Devonport. Nothing is currently known of his early life in the Senior Service except that he trained as a wireless telegraphist and in 1917 was posted to serve on HM Submarine E47.
The Submarine, E47 had been launched on 29/05/1916 at Fairfield Govan and in 1917 was based at Harwich with the 9th Flotilla. She was engaged in North Sea patrols off the German and Dutch coasts. When German coastal shipping between Heligoland Bight and Rotterdam was resumed in 1917, four E-class submarines were sent to intercept. E47 was lost in the North Sea on 20 August 1917. There were no survivors. The wreck of E47, was found in 2002 by Divingteam Noordkaap from Vlieland who report that the deck gun, which was torn off its mounting, probably by a trawler, and was lying beside the wreck, has been salvaged and identifies the wreck.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) lists Ordinary Telegraphist Cyril Joseph Jeffery (J/39221), Royal Navy, HM Sub E47, died on 20/08/1917, aged 18 years. Remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial (Panel 22).
Cyril Jeffery is also remembered on the WW1 Memorial at St. John's RC Cathedral (as Jeffry) and on the Cenotaph. He is not listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War'.
Tim Backhouse
April 2014