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CHESTER-LE-STREET

Armstrong, J.C., L/Stkr., 1941
On the Portsmouth Naval Memorial is the name of P/KX 84345 Leading Stoker John Cyril Armstrong serving with the Royal Navy who died 24/05/1941.

John Cyril Armstrong, 'Cyd' was born on the 27th June 1915 in Lemington, Northumberland, baptised on the 27th July 1915 at the Primitive Methodist Church, Newburn, Northumberland, the son of James William and Elizabeth Hannah Armstrong. The family lived at 22 Hazelwood Gardens, Chester-le-Street, County Durham. John married Lydia Richmond Gilder born 1916, of Co-operative Street Chester-le-Street in 1940. [Her mothers maiden name was Colman].

John was a career sailor, having joined the Royal Navy in 1933, his service start date is shown as the 12th June 1934, during the interwar period. Some of the bases and ships he served on were H.M.S. Victory, H.M.S. Curacao, H.M.S. Tamar II (Delight), H.M.S. Dolphin, H.M.S. Caledonia, M.T.E. Rosyth, H.M.S. Lynx, and H.M.S. Hood. On the 10th December 1935 he was at Johore, Malaya aboard the S.S. Cameronia from the 11th December he is transferred to H.M.S. Delight. On the 13th December, he leaves Johore for Hong Kong. John arrives at Hong Kong on the 18th December. He took part in the following, Anti-Pirate Patrol and Flotilla Exercises, from the 18th December 1935 to the 21st April 1936, Japanese Cruise, left Hong Kong on the 21st April 1936 and returned on the 15th August 1936; Anti-Pirate Patrol and Fleet Manoeuvres from August 1936 to 12th January 1937; Southern Cruise, leaving Hong Kong on 12th January 1937 and returning on the 4th March 1937, Summer Cruise, leaving Hong Kong on the 7th May 1937 and arriving at Wei-Hai-Wei, China, on the 28th May 1937.

John took part in a Summer Cruise on H.M.S. Delight, 29th July 1937; left Wei-Hai-Wei, China, arrived Hong Kong, 14th March 1938; Northern Patrol, left Hong Kong 21st October 1938, arrived back at Hong Kong on the 14th March 1938; paid off from H.M.S. Delight on the 3rd April 1938. He returned to the United Kingdom on board H.M.T. Dilwara, leaving Hong Kong on the 4th April 1938 and arriving at Southampton on the 6th May 1938.

After the outbreak of war in 1939, he was primarily assigned to destroyers escorting convoys. During one such voyage, in which he was crewing a lend-lease destroyer en route from the USA, John was thrown from his bunk in heavy weather and injured his knee. He was used to hammocks, not bunks.

Following his injury he was required to serve in a ship with medical staff and a sickbay, so he was transferred to HMS Hood. He joined HMS Hood just days before her final voyage, when it sailed to engage the Bismarck.

Lydia was the daughter of William Gilder, born 9th July 1881, and his wife Mary J. Gilder, born 10th July 1877, one of five children, Mary Gilder, born 10th October 1912, who married a Grainger, [in 1939 was a Cinema Manager's Clerk], William W. Gilder, born 7th March 1914, Thomas Willis Gilder, born 3rd September 1917, [Motor Lorry Driver], died 1992, and Allan S. Gilder, born 7th April 1920. Lydia had worked at G. W. Horners the 'Dainty Dinah' sweet factory.

John and his wife Lydia Richmond Armstrong had one daughter, Mary, who was born after HMS Hood sank. They were residing at 29 Co-operative Street, Chester-le-Street, in November 1941, by 1953 she had moved to 32 Ramsay Street, Chester-le-Street.

Lydia did not marry again and died at Chester-le-Street on the 13th June 2008.

John Cyril Armstrong is remembered at Chester-le-Street in C105.05, C105.38, C105.40 and in our List of Ships’ crews.


H.M.S. Hood Roll of Honour
The CWGC entry for Leading Stoker Armstrong

If you know more about this person, please send the details to janet@newmp.org.uk