Leading Seaman Albert George Veal (1896-1967) was the illegitimate son of Thirza Veal and both were in the Evesham Workhouse at the 1901 census, where her occupation was given as ‘servant’. He remained in the Workhouse until 1908, when he was discharged to the Training Ship Mercury.
Albert Veal was recorded in the 1911 census as aboard the Training Ship Mercury, moored on the Hamble, near Southampton. This was a charitable venture with the objective of rescuing poor boys of good character and preparing them for the Navy. He joined the Royal Navy, as a Boy 2nd Class, on 3rd March 1913 and was sent for training on the Impregnable. He was promoted to Boy 1st Class on 15th September that year. Albert Veal officially enlisted on 12th June 1914 as an Ordinary Seaman (No J23747) and sent to HMS Achilles. This ship was an armoured cruiser (13,350 t), part of the Grand Fleet in the North Sea, but it missed the Battle of Jutland in 1916, as it was being refitted. Albert Veal was promoted to Able Seaman on 14th November 1915 and stayed with this ship until 29th June 1917. He was transferred to HMS Vernon, a shore establishment, for four months and then went to sea again aboard HMS Blenheim, which was a 'first class' Cruiser (9,000 t) in the Mediterranean at this time. He served on her from 30th June 1917 until 31st March 1918, when he was moved to HMS Victory in Portsmouth dockyard. Albert Veal then joined a newly commissioned ship at Dover. This was HMS Glatton, a monitor of 5,828 tons, which had been acquired from the Norwegian navy in 1915 and spent three years being refitted. He arrived on board on 28th August 1918 and the ship was commissioned on the 31st. A fire broke out in the 6” ammunition magazine on 16th September, and to prevent the fire spreading to the main armament magazine, the ship was torpedoed and sunk at Dover to save the town from the effects of a large explosion. He then went back to the Victory, where he was based at the Armistice.
Albert Veal appeared on the 1919 Absent Voters’ List as being on HMS Rival, with his parish named as Evesham St Peter, Bengeworth. He remained in the Royal Navy until October 1928, by which time he had been promoted one last time, to Leading Seaman, in June 1925.
His connection with Wickhamford is that he was on the Electoral Roll for the village in 1924, listed as a serviceman, and entered under ‘The Homestead’ (now Oxley House), Longdon Hill. The only other voter at this house was the tenant, Benjamin Ryle Swift. It is possible that Albert’s mother was a servant there and it was registered as his home address. He was still at that address on the November 1939 Electoral Roll and seems to have re-enlisted as he was listed as a ‘Military or Naval’ voter for Parliamentary elections.
No information has been found to date of his type of service in the Second World War.
He died in Portsmouth in 1967.