MEOLS RESIDENT WAS ONE OF THE FIRST FATALITIES AS A SUBMARINER
John Jellard was born in Willenhall, Staffordshire on 30th January 1889. He was baptised at St. Andrews, Toxteth Park in Liverpool on 3rd April that year. Subsequent Census records show him living in Upper Parliament Street in Liverpool and then in Wavertree. Prior to his death in 1916, John lived with his widowed mother, Lucy Jane Jellard, at 8 Rycroft Road, Meols.
It seems that the Jellard family had an international maritime tradition. John Jellard’s grandfather (also named John) was a master mariner who died 28th May 1860 at Port Littleton, New Zealand.
John Jellard was an Engine Room Artificer in the Royal Navy Reserve and he lost his life on board H.M. Submarine H 3 in the Bay of Kotor (pictured below), the largest bay in the Adriatic.
The British H-class submarines were Holland 602 type vessels and the first ten submarines were ordered from the Bethlehem Steel Company in Quincy, Massachusetts soon after the start of the First World War. To get round the US neutrality laws at the time, the yard prefabricated the submarines, and then shipped the parts to Montreal where the components were assembled at the Vickers yard. They were completed in 1915 and made a new record for the crossing of the Atlantic by a submarine.
British H-class submarines H 1 to H 4 and also some French and Italian submarines (based on Brindisi) made regular sorties to the waters off the Bocche di Cattaro (the Bay of Kotor in southern Montenegro today), then the main base for Austrian vessels in the southern Adriatic during the First World War.
The Bay, once called Europe’s southernmost fjord, is approximately 28 km long from the open sea to the harbor of the city of Kotor and due to its geographical features, offered great protection for the enemy vessels, with the narrowest section, the Verige Strait, only 300 m long.
H.M. Submarine H 3, under the command of Lieutenant George E. Jenkinson, left Brindisi on 14th July 1916 at 08:30h on a patrol to the Bay.
Reports found after the end of the war indicate that, on 15th July at 13:27h, the Austrian signals station at d’Ostro Point, the entrance to the Bay, heard a loud detonation some miles off. Several boats were sent to investigate and found patches of diesel oil, some pieces of wreckage and parts of a torpedo. The timing of the incident was verified by the French submarine Faraday, which heard an explosion at that time. This must have been H 3 hitting an Austrian defensive mine. There were no survivors of the crew of 22 men.
John Jellard is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial and Probate records show his effects totalled £313. 17s. 1d.
Special thanks to Heather Chapman for her research into the Jellard family.