Search our records : William John Mutter

Surname: Mutter
Forename(s): William John
Service Number: 162473
Date of Birth: 4th April 1876
Force: Royal Navy
Unit: HMS Defence
Date of Death: 31st August 1916
Where Buried / Commemorated: No grave but the sea
Parents: William and Elizabeth Mutter
Home address: Ber, Devon

Stoker 1st Class 162473 HMS Defence Royal Navy Died 31st May 1916 aged 43 Son of the late William and Elizabeth Mutter of Beer

Commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial for those officers and ratings of the port who have no grave but the sea

William Mutter was born in Beer on 4th April 1876.  His father, William, was a quarryman, while his mother Elizabeth was a lacemaker.  The family's address was given as 'South side of Street', where they lived with Elizabeth's parents Thomas and Mary Westlake. 

At the time of the 1891 census William's father was working as an agricultural labourer, while William himself was still at school. The family lived at 2 Ashill Cottages, Couchill. 

William joined the Royal Navy on 20th August 1901 as a Boy 2nd Class.   His first ship was the training ship HMS Impregnable at Devonport.  She was launched as a warship in 1810, and was almost identical to HMS Victory.  He completed his training on HMS Lion, a similar vessel at Devonport, before joining HMS Aurora, a cruiser, in October 1903. 

He was promoted to Boy 1st Class in March 1893, and Ordinary Seaman in April 1894.  Later, in 1897, he became a Stoker.  He served on the gunboat HMS Lapwing, before joining HMS Nile, a battleship, on which he served from January 1898 to February 1899.

He spent several spells ashore at Devonport and HMS Defiance, the Royal Navy torpedo school at Saltash, and also served on the sloop HMS Espeigle, the gunboat HMS Thistle, the depot ship HMS Leander and the cruiser HMS Gibraltar.

At the time of the 1911 census he was on the Pelorus class cruiser HMS Prometheus in Sydney Harbour as a Stoker 1st Class.  This was one of the ships on which he served the longest, from December 1910 to September 1913.  On leaving Prometheus William spent a few months ashore at Devonport before joining HMS Defence, a Minotaur class cruiser in the Mediterranean, in September 1913.

Please see the items on HMS Defence and the Battle of Jutland.