Lieutenant Commander William Arthur USHER RN
HMS Dartmouth, Royal Navy

Date of birth: 12th September 1887
Date of death: 23rd March 1959

Died aged 71
Buried at Prinknash Abbey, Cranham, Gloucestershire
William Arthur Usher was born at Stow in Lincolnshire on the 12th of September 1887 the third son of the Reverend William Neville Usher, Rector of St Mary's Church Stow, and Margaret Louisa (nee Stapylton-Barnes) Usher of The Rectory, Stow.

He was educated at Hazelwood School until December 1900 where he was a member of the 2nd Football XI in 1898 and was a member of the Choir. He was a member of the Cricket XI in 1899 and 1900. The school magazine wrote the following on his 1899 cricket season: - "High up in the averages owing to his being often not out; a very wooden golf sort of a style, but has cricket in him; a poor field."

They wrote the following of his 1900 cricket season: - "A vastly improved bat, but has not been successful in matches. A fair field and safe catch in practise."

He was a member of the Football XI in 1899 and 1900. The school magazine wrote the following on his 1899 football season: - "Centre half. An extremely capable one, tackling strongly and using his head and right foot to advantage, also shoots well, but must practice more with his left foot."

They wrote of his 1900 football season: - "Centre half. Has developed into a very sound half; always prominent alike in attack and defence, he feeds his forwards judiciously, has improved his shooting, and in the matter of "heading" is an object lesson to the team."

On leaving the school the magazine wrote the following: - "He has been an excellent football player, a useful cricketer, and a most efficient actor and chorister."

He went on to Marlborough College where he was in B2 House from January to July 1901. He was a member of the Choir. "He took a sudden fancy for the Navy" and left for preparation for the Royal Naval College Britannia which he entered in July 1902 and where he was promoted to Cadet Captain in the spring of 1903. He passed out in 1903 with a First Class in Mathematics and Seamanship, having gained 22 places during his time there.

He was appointed as a Midshipman in the Royal Navy on the 30th of January 1904 and spent three years in the Mediterranean. He then studied at the Royal Naval College Greenwich where he achieved five first class and one second class certificates. He was promoted to Sub Lieutenant on the 30th of March 1907. On the 15th of August 1908 he was posted to the torpedo boat destroyer HMS “Welland”, part of the Devonport Destroyer Flotilla. He was promoted to Lieutenant on the 30th of June 1908.

On the 2nd of September 1913 he was posted to the light cruiser HMS “Dartmouth” where he served as Navigation Officer and later served in the same capacity on board the cruiser HMS “Endymion”.

He was married at Brompton Oratory to Julia Mary Aloysia “May” (nee Conron) on the 5th of June 1916.

He was mentioned in despatches and graduated from the Royal Naval Staff College in 1919/20. He was promoted to Commander on the 31st of December 1921.

In 1923 he played in the Naval Lawn Tennis Championships where he reached the semi finals of both the singles and the doubles.

In 1925 he was stationed in Bermuda. His sloop “Valerian” represented the Royal Navy at the Schneider Trophy seaplane races off Baltimore on October 31st that year. He was in command of the sloop when it foundered off Bermuda during a hurricane in October 1926. He sank with the ship, clinging to the bridge, was washed off and hit his head but caught hold of a raft. For 21 hours the 28 survivors were adrift, tossed about on the raft which constantly overturned in the raging seas. He was one of the 19 survivors picked up alive and was in a critical condition for a time, but made a complete recovery. A Court Martial was held which found that everything possible was done for the safety of the ship and that naval traditions were upheld by the exemplary conduct of officers and men. In all 84 officers and men lost their lives in the incident.

On the 22nd of March 1927 he was appointed to HMS “Victory” to start a Senior Officer’s Technical Course. From August 1927 to 1930 he served in the Naval Intelligence Division and from the 10th of February 1930 to 1933 he was in command of the dockyard, HMS “Tamar”, and was King’s Harbourmaster at Singapore.

He retired from the navy at his own request on the 30th of January 1934 with the rank of Captain, probably due to his wife’s ill health. She died on the 30th of September 1934. He was remarried on the 26th of January 1937 to Ursula Mary Frances (nee Sleeman) and they lived in Gloucestershire. They had a son, Richard Andrew who was born prematurely on the 6th of December 1937 and died two days later. On the 20th of June 1940 they had a daughter, Veronica Mary and later had two more daughters, Mary Elizabeth and Margaret Mary.

He died at Painswick in Gloucestershire.