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The Hanna brothers 1914 - 1918
The Hanna brothers 1914 - 1918
Two brothers in the Navy
Both Hanna brothers joined the Navy as Boy Seamen (2nd Class), Frank in 1900 and Arthur in 1903. Frank was ambitious and in July, 1912, was promoted to Warrant Officer, the most senior rank a man of the lower deck could reach at that time. Neither ambition nor ability could help him now. He would remain a Gunner (T) until he retired – or so it seemed.
However, in October of that same year Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, announced that 100 carefully selected young warrant officers and petty officers would be commissioned early in their careers. Frank seized his chance and, after being accepted for the new scheme by the Selection Board, successfully completed the necessary courses and received the King’s Commission early in 1913 as Mate, a rank equal to Sub Lieutenant but one which distinguished officers from the lower deck from those who had entered the service in the usual way as cadets.
On the outbreak of war in August, 1914, Frank was serving in Torpedo Boat Number One, a small craft that patrolled the East Coast from her base in Immingham until she moved to Newhaven to work in the Channel. On promotion to Lieutenant in June 1915, Frank was appointed to the 6-inch gunned monitor M30, a ship in which he saw action off the Gallipoli Peninsula and with the Smyrna Patrol.
Following the sinking of M30 by Turkish gunfire in 1916 Lieutenant Hanna joined the “bulged” cruiser Grafton that provided fire support for the troops engaged in the Salonica campaign. After Grafton was torpedoed Frank Hanna was given command of PC68, a naval craft altered while building to resemble a coastal tramp steamer, which operated as SS Telford, a submarine decoy vessel (or Q boat), in the western approaches until February, 1918, and then as a convoy escort until the end of the war. In this craft Frank contracted tuberculosis, an affliction which led to him being invalided from the Navy post-war and, eventually, to his death.
A journalist from an unknown paper visited PC 68 in 1918, as the ship’s log records, and his report, while concealing the true identity of the ship for security reasons – he names it as the “Innocent Babe” - gives a description of her commanding officer. The reporter suggests that Frank was the first graduate of the Mates’ Scheme to be given a command and wrote:
“The Captain of the “Innocent Babe” was one of the mates promoted under the Churchill-Battenberg scheme, the first, if I am right, to hold a command. If the others are made of the same stuff, the sooner they are given commands, too, the better. In him the lower deck has distinctly “made good.” Of Irish blood, he spent nearly all his life in London. He was studying for the Civil Service when his father died; the loss changed the world for the boy, and he “packed up and went into the Navy.”
The writer continues: “The officers said of him ‘that he liked things done smartly’. Looking at his own way of doing things, it was easy to believe. There was never any hesitation about a movement he made – it carried out swiftly a quick decision. He had ‘eyes all down his coat’ and was a judge of men, in which a sense of humour aided him. He was medium height and medium build, pale of face and blue grey eyes: his age was perhaps 35 and his rank lieutenant.”
Although he was intelligent, Frank’s younger brother Arthur Hanna had a very different character to that of his older brother. He had no ambition, was not fond of responsibility, was always cheerful and was regarded with amused affection by his family as a typical Jolly Jack, forever ready for a skylark or a scrap. He would, on occasion, announce with a laugh that he was “only a common sailor and my home is on the deep.” To please brother Frank, Arthur did make one effort to climb the promotion ladder but this ended in a fight with one of the course instructors and he was to remain an Able Seaman until the end of his naval career.
When war was declared Arthur was serving in the destroyer Scorpion of the Mediterranean Flotilla, a ship commanded by Andrew Cunningham, later Admiral of the Fleet, Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope. Arthur was to remain in this ship throughout the Gallipoli campaign and after, until he was shot in the foot during a somewhat piratical raid on the Turkish mainland. After prolonged medical treatment Arthur was drafted to Laforey, a Harwich Force destroyer seconded to the Dover Patrol, and in this ship he lost his life when she was mined in the Channel in March, 1917.
Despite their differences in character and approach to life, the brothers Frank and Arthur Hanna were always very close. Arthur admired Frank’s determined pursuit of promotion while Frank, a quiet man always studying and faced with examinations, envied Arthur’s happy and carefree attitude. He wrote that “he stood for everything that was free.” When naval life brought them together the brothers spent as much time in company as possible although “runs ashore” sometimes ended in a fight (as at Portsmouth and Valetta) for, as Frank wrote, his brother was a “boxer of real ability, and an even better scrapper.”
When M30 arrived at Port Kephalo on the island of Imbros on 5 August, 1915, it was to find Scorpion anchored there and, in defiance of naval protocol but with the help of the destroyer’s Number One, Lieutenant Frank Hanna was able to arrange a meeting with Able Seaman Arthur Hanna. Arthur was reported to be bashful taking tea and cakes in an officer’s cabin. However he soon warmed to the situation and kept everyone amused with his colourful yarns. Other meetings followed, the last taking place in September, 1916, in Mudros where Arthur’s wound was being treated. Years later when Frank was in hospital facing death he wrote “I can see even now his beaming face as he showed me the hole in his leg and told me how he had got into trouble shedding blood on the clean deck!” Frank was devastated by the news of his brother’s death in 1917 and felt “much of the lighter, more jovial side of my life went with him.”
Frank and Arthur Hanna were my uncles. As an ex RNVR man who served from 1944 – 47, I have long been fascinated by their histories and the ships they served in and have spent many years researching them. You can read more about them at www.hannabrothersww1rn.org.uk. On Patrol, a short book that documents Frank’s early career in TB1, as WW1 started and Britain was threatened by submarine warfare, can be read at https://dl.dropbox.com/u/12364022/MICHAEL_HANNA/MICHAELHANNA_ONPATROL_VOL1-medres.pdf
The Hanna family, who lived in East Dulwich, London, can be seen in one of the photographs. Arthur Edward Hanna (born 1888 Taunton – 1917 k.i.a) is standing top left while Francis Charles Hanna, or Frank (1885 Taunton – 1933 Arundel) is seated below him. My father Walter John Hanna (1891 Dulwich – 1960 Bath), who served in the Civil Service Rifles during WW1, losing an eye in Passchendaele, is in the centre. Hugh Hanna (1894 Dulwich – 1970 Frome), who won the Military Medal in WW1, is seated on the floor. My grandmother, Elizabeth Hanna, nee Horder (1856 Yeovil – 1944 Patcham) is seated left, while my aunt, Frances Hanna (1883 Tralee – 1977 Bath), is standing at the back. The other photographs show: the ship’s company of TB1 in October 1914 (Mate Frank Hanna is the officer seated second from the left);TB1 in 1907; a posed portrait of Mate Frank Hanna; Able Seaman Arthur Hanna; and HMS Scorpion in Valetta Harbour, Malta.
Arthur Hanna’s name appears on the Chatham and Dover Patrol naval war memorials. Frank, who was invalided in 1921, died in 1933 holding the rank of Commander and was buried in Arundel.
A photograph of the Hanna family, showing brothers Frank and Arthur Hanna, who served in the Royal Navy during WW!, together with their younger brothers Walter and Hugh who fought in the army during WW!. Hugh won the Military Medal. The photograph also shows their mother Elizabeth Hanna and their sister Frances Hanna.
A photograph of the ship's company of TB1 in October 1914, including Frank Hanna.
A posed photographic portrait of Frank Hanna in the Royal Navy during WW1.
A posed photographic portrait of Arthur Hanna in the Royal Navy during WW1.
A photograph of The Scorpion, which Arthur Hanna served in, in Valetta Harbour, Malta.
- 2013-01-18 17:08:24 UTC
References and relations
- ["Erster Weltkrieg"] (de);
- ["प्रथम विश्वयुद्ध"] (hi);
- ["Første verdenskrig"] (no);
- ["Первая мировая война"] (ru);
- ["Першая сусветная вайна"] (be);
- ["Ensimmäinen maailmansota"] (fi);
- ["Primeira Guerra Mundial"] (pt);
- ["Първа световна война"] (bg);
- ["Pirmasis pasaulinis karas"] (lt);
- ["Pirmais pasaules karš"] (lv);
- ["Prvi svjetski rat"] (hr);
- ["Première Guerre mondiale"] (fr);
- ["Első világháború"] (hu);
- ["ערשטע וועלט מלחמה"] (yi);
- ["Առաջին համաշխարհային պատերազմ"] (hy);
- ["Prvi svjetski rat"] (bs);
- ["Перша світова війна"] (uk);
- ["პირველი მსოფლიო ომი"] (ka);
- ["Prvá svetová vojna"] (sk);
- ["Prva svetovna vojna"] (sl);
- ["An Chéad Chogadh Domhanda"] (ga);
- ["An Cogadh Mòr"] (gd);
- ["Lufta e Parë Botërore"] (sq);
- ["Прва светска војна"] (mk);
- ["Primera Guerra Mundial"] (ca);
- ["Први светски рат"] (sr);
- ["Första världskriget"] (sv);
- ["제1차 세계 대전"] (ko);
- ["Primeira Guerra Mundial"] (gl);
- ["Α΄ Παγκόσμιος Πόλεμος"] (el);
- ["World War I"] (en);
- ["Fyrri heimsstyrjöldin"] (is);
- ["Prima guerra mondiale"] (it);
- ["Primera Guerra Mundial"] (es);
- ["第一次世界大战"] (zh);
- ["Esimene maailmasõda"] (et);
- ["První světová válka"] (cs);
- ["Lehen Mundu Gerra"] (eu);
- ["الحرب العالمية الأولى"] (ar);
- ["Y Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf"] (cy);
- ["第一次世界大戦"] (ja);
- ["Birinci dünya müharibəsi"] (az);
- ["I wojna światowa"] (pl);
- ["מלחמת העולם הראשונה"] (he);
- ["1. verdenskrig"] (da);
- ["Primul Război Mondial"] (ro);
- ["I. Dünya Savaşı"] (tr);
- Arthur Hanna
- Frank Hanna
- Michael Hanna
- ["20й век"] (ru);
- ["20..", "20??", "20e"] (def);
- ["20-th", "20th", "20th century"] (en);
- ["20e siècle"] (fr);
- ["20de eeuw"] (nl);
- Tue Jan 01 00:19:32 CET 1901
- Sun Dec 31 01:00:00 CET 2000
- ["Начало 20-го века"] (ru);
- ["Early 20th century"] (en);
- Tue Jan 01 00:19:32 CET 1901
- Sun Dec 31 00:19:32 CET 1933
- ["Second millenium AD", "Second millenium AD, years 1001-2000"] (en);
- ["2e millénaire après J.-C."] (fr);
- Mon Jan 01 00:19:32 CET 1900
- Mon Dec 31 00:19:32 CET 1900
- ["Середина 20-го века"] (ru);
- ["Mid 20th century"] (en);
- Mon Jan 01 00:19:32 CET 1934
- Sat Dec 31 01:00:00 CET 1966
- Sun Jan 01 00:19:32 CET 1933
- Sun Dec 31 00:19:32 CET 1933