Search our records : Richard Cawley

Surname: Cawley
Forename(s): Richard
Service Number: C1616
Date of Birth: 6th January 1873
Force: Royal Naval Reserve
Unit: HMS Macedonia
Civilian Occupation: Merchant seaman
Parents: Joseph and May Cawley
Home address:

Richard Cawley was born in Beer on 6th January 1873, the son of Joseph and May Cawley.  He joined the Royal Naval Reserve on 21st April 1900, when his RNR record described him as 5ft 3 ¼ ins tall, with blue eyes and a fair complexion. 

Richard became a merchant seaman, and served on the SS Faraday, laying cables across the North Atlantic, and on the Avondale Castle on voyages to South Africa.  Between spells at sea he also worked as a decorator, and was working for a firm in Hammersmith when he was called up on 3rd August 1914. 

He joined HMS Macedonia, an armed merchant cruiser, on 7th August, and remained for three years.  Macedonia patrolled between South America and South Africa, and on 8th December 1914 was in Port Stanley and took part in the Battle of the Falkland Islands (see separate entry).

During the battle Macedonia joined HMS Bristol in intercepting three German transport ships off the Falklands.  They stopped and sank two of them (Baden and Santa Isabel) with gunfire, after taking off the crews of both. 

He left Macedonia in August 1917 in Simons Town, South Africa, and transferred to HMS Princess, a much smaller vessel, which had been captured from the Germans.  Princess steamed along the coast of East Africa and then to Bombay, where she paid off in October 1917.

Richard then joined HMS Pembroke, the shore establishment at Chatham in Kent until he transferred to HMS Polly Bridge in May 1918.  He was demobilised on 23rd February 1919.