Lieutenant Cecil WARDE RN
Submarine K17 Royal Navy

Date of birth: 2nd July 1895
Date of death: 31st January 1918

Killed on active service aged 22
Commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial Panel 28
He was born in Addington in Kent on the 2nd of July 1895 the youngest son of Frederick Warde, a hop and fruit farmer, and Lilian Elizabeth (nee Tapsfield) of "Aldon", Addington in Kent.

He was educated at Mrs Ingram's School in St Leonards as a border, before spending a short time at the Junior King’s School in September 1903. He went on to the naval training school, HMS "Conway" as a Cadet from April 1908 to April 1910 after which he went on to the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, passing out in December 1912.

On the 15th of January 1913 he was appointed as a Midshipman in the Royal Navy and was posted to the 18,600 ton battleship HMS Temeraire, part of the First Battle Squadron, on which he served until the 3rd of July 1915. He was promoted to Acting Sub Lieutenant on the 15th of January 1915 and on the 9th of May 1915 he applied to join the submarine service. On the 4th of July 1915 he was posted to the minesweeper HMS Spanker, was promoted to Sub Lieutenant on the 30th of September 1915 and left the ship on the 30th of November 1915. On the 1st of December 1915 he was posted to the Royal Navy Submarine School HMS Dolphin at Gosport for submarine training and left on the 12th of January 1916. On the 10th of August 1916 he was posted to the training ship HMS Vulcan and on the 2nd of August 1917 he was posted to HM Submarine K17, part of the 13th Submarine Flotilla stationed at Rosyth.

On the night of the 31st of January 1918 Submarine K17 was part of a flotilla of nine submarines and a number of warships led by the cruiser HMS ”Courageous” which set out in a convoy some thirty miles long at 6.30pm from Rosyth Naval Base for a night exercise. The vessels were ordered to maintain radio silence and extinguish navigation lights other than a small stern light as they made their way into the heavy mist. Thirteen miles off the Fife coast, off the Isle of May, the submarine K14 had to take evasive action to avoid collision with a minesweeper and in doing so managed to jam her rudder. This led to her colliding with Submarine K22, killing two of her crew. HMS “Inflexible” then collided with K22, shearing off her ballast tank and bending her bow some 90 degrees, while, at around 7.30pm, HMS ”Fearless” collided with the Submarine K17, causing her to sink in just eight minutes with the loss of her Captain, Lieutenant Commander Henry John Hearn, and forty seven of her crew. Many of the escaping crew of K22 were mown down by “Fearless” with just nine of the crew surviving. Meanwhile Submarine K6 was forced to take evasive action and collided with K4 which was lost with all hands. This disaster became known as the “Battle of May Island” and in all, one hundred and five men were drowned in this disaster, one of which was Cecil Warde.

He is commemorated on the war memorial at HMS Conway.