Harry Clarence Jennings
Lieutenant Harry Clarence Jennings, age 29
HM Submarine L55, Royal Navy
Died 09 June 1919
Lieutenant, Royal Navy, 2IC HM Submarine L55. Born 9 July 1889 in Worcester. Died 09/06/1919. Age 29. Son of Clement Heeley Jennings & his wife Ellen nee Wilde of 78 Romford Road, Stratford, London. Husband of Olive Jennings nee Bloomfield, of Orwell House, Felixstowe. Buried at Haslar Royal Navy Cemetery.
Harry joined the Royal Navy as a boy at Ganges 6 Sept 1905, signing up for 12 years from 9 July 1907 when he reached 18. Worked his way through the ranks to be an officer and 2IC of a submarine. At the commencement of war he was serving on board HMS Suffolk which was protecting British shipping. On 6 October 1915 he was promoted to acting gunner second class where his records transferred to officer status. Harry appears to have been serving on board HMS Ramillies at the end of the war where he received the British medal, Victory medal & Star.
Whilst in action against two Bolshevik Destroyers, the submarine L55 struck a mine previously moored by the British. The Russians claimed that they had sunk the submarine but this is thought to be unlikely. They did not, however, forget about where the sub was, because in 1928 they succeeded in raising it. The British government immediately requested that the bodies of the men be returned to Britain, and because the Russians refused to allow any British warship into their waters the merchant ship Truro took the coffins of the men on board at Kronstadt before transferring them to HMS Champion at Reval in Estonia. The 42 officers and men of HM Submarine "L.55" now lie together in a collective grave in the Haslar Royal Navy Cemetery where their names appear on a Screen Wall Memorial. As the bodies were not recovered from the wreck until 1928 they were assumed to have had no known grave at the time the Naval Memorials were erected at Portsmouth, Plymouth and Chatham. As a consequence their names appear on these memorials (21 at Portsmouth, 5 at Plymouth and 16 at Chatham) making them among the only ones to be so commemorated whilst having known graves. Lieutenant Jennings (2nd in command L55) is also commemorated on a special memorial in Portsmouth Cathedral erected in 2005 to commemorate those lost as a result of action by British Naval forces in the Baltic, following the Great War, in support of the independent state of Estonia, in the face of a growing threat from the Russians
Haslar Royal Navy Cemetery
HM Submarine L55
Various Naval Records