Howard Frank Lockley
1888 - 1916

Contents of this Biography

  • Introduction

  • Family history documents

  • Documents relating to Battle of Jutland

  • Reports in local newspapers

  • War Memorials on which his name appears.

Family History

Howard Frank Lockley was the son of Frank Lockley, grandson of George Lockley and great-grandson of John Lockley. George Lockley’s brother Edward was my grandfather, and the family - though from the area around Penkridge - were living in Mill Street, Cannock, at the time of the 1841 census.

Extract from the 1841 census showing George Lockley living with his parents John and Ann Lockley

Picture 1

George and his family were recorded on the 1851 Cannock census with a family which did not yet include Frank.

Extract from the 1851 census showing George Lockley living with his wife Susanna Emily and four daughters

Picture 2

I cannot find a marriage of George to Susanna Emily in the Cannock area. In the 1861 census, the family of George and Selina Lockley - did Susanna Emily die young? - with two young children but no Frank as yet.

Extract from the 1861 census showing George Lockley living with his wife Selina and two sons George and Arthur

Picture 3

In the 1871 census Frank Lockley is recorded as a son of George and Selina, aged 4,

Extract from the 1871 census showing George Lockley living with his wife Selina and four sons and two daughters

Picture 4

and in 1881 the same family are living in Mill Street, Cannock, and Frank is there as a scholar aged 14.

Extract from the 1881 census showing George Lockley living with his wife Selina, two sons Frank and Harry, and daughter Emma

Picture 5

Mill Street seems to have been the “family home” of the Lockleys since 1841 but it could be that there were other properties in the street belonging to other members of the wider Lockley family. The family trade was “bricklayer” from the time of their arrival in Cannock from Pillaton in the early part of the 19th century. By 1891 Frank Lockley was married to Emma, they were living in Stafford Road, Cannock, and they had a son Albert Frank Lockley, aged 2, baptised at St. Luke’s Church, Cannock, on 8 August 1888, when Frank Lockley is described as a Railway Warehouseman (corrected to Railway Porter) and the baptismal name of the child is given as Albert Frank. However, the child was registered as Howard Frank at the Cannock Register Office. By the time of the 1901 census Howard Frank was 12 years old and described as a Grocer’s Apprentice. Howard joined the Royal Navy and became a Corporal in the Royal Naval Light Infantry. The RNLI was the forerunner of the Royal Marines and provided light artillery services on board Royal Navy ships. In 1916 he was aboard the battle cruiser HMS Black Prince at the Battle of Jutland when she was presumed sunk by German battleships. No witnesses to the ship’s destruction exist and no survivors were recovered from the 857 crew members who were on board at the time of the ship’s sinking. A full description of the ship and her service in WW1 is a part of this biography. Howard Frank Lockley is recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as having been killed in action - no known grave. His name is recorded on the War Memorial at Cannock and his death in action was reported in the local newspaper, the Cannock Advertiser.

Family Tree

  1. John Lockley m Ann Grosvenor (from Pillaton nr, Penkridge)

  2. George Lockley son of John and Ann, brother of Charlotte (mother of

  3. Edward - my Great Grandfather)

  4. Frank Lockley son of George and Selina

  5. Howard Frank Lockley son of Frank and Emma.

HMS Black Prince (1904)

HMS Black Prince {Photograph from the Imperial War Museum}

Picture 6

{This extract is taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia}

Name: Black Prince
Namesake: Edward, the Black Prince
Builder: Thames Ironworks
Laid down: 3 June 1903
Launched: 8 November 1904
Commissioned: 17 March 1906
Fate: Sunk, 1 June 1916 at the Battle of Jutland
General characteristics:
Class and type: Duke of Edinburgh-class armoured cruiser
12,590 long tons (12,790 t) (normal)
13,965 long tons (14,189 t) (deep load)
Length: 505 ft 6 in (154.1 m)
Beam: 73 ft 6 in (22.4 m)
Draught: 27 ft (8.2 m) (maximum)
Installed power: 23,000 ihp (17,000 kW)
Propulsion: 2 shafts, 4-cylinder triple-expansion steam engines, 20 Babcock & Wilcox water-tube boilers and 6 cylindrical boilers
Speed: 23 knots (43 km/h; 26 mph)
Range: 8,130 nmi (15,060 km; 9,360 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)
Complement: 789
6 × 1 - BL 9.2-inch (234 mm) Mk X guns
10 × 1 - BL 6-inch (152 mm) Mk XI guns
20 × 1 - Vickers QF 3-pounder guns
3 × 1 - submerged 18 inch (450 mm) torpedo tubes
Belt: 3–6 in (76–152 mm)
Decks: 0.75–1.5 in (19–38 mm)
Barbettes: 3–6 in (76–152 mm)
Turrets: 4.5–7.5 in (110–190 mm)
Conning tower: 10 in (250 mm)
Bulkheads: 2–6 in (51–152 mm)

HMS Black Prince was a Duke of Edinburgh-class armoured cruiser built for the Royal Navy in the early 1900s. She was stationed in the Mediterranean when the First World War began and participated in the pursuit of the German battlecruiser SMS Goeben and light cruiser SMS Breslau. After the German ships reached Ottoman waters, the ship was sent to the Red Sea in mid-August to protect troop convoys arriving from India and to search for German merchant ships. After capturing two ships, Black Prince was transferred to the Grand Fleet in December 1914 and was sunk during the Battle of Jutland on 1 June 1916, with the loss of all hands.

Design and description

Two armoured cruisers of a new design, Duke of Edinburgh and Black Prince, the latter named for Edward, the Black Prince, were ordered for the Royal Navy as part of the 1902–03 Naval Estimates. They were the first ships to be designed for the Royal Navy under the supervision of the new Director of Naval Construction, Sir Philip Watts. The new design was significantly larger than the previous Monmouth and Devonshire-class cruisers, mounting a heavier main armament of six 9.2 in (234 mm) guns in single turrets.

Black Prince displaced 12,590 long tons (12,790 t) as built and 13,965 long tons (14,189 t) fully loaded. The ship had an overall length of 505 feet 6 inches (154.1 m), a beam of 73 feet 6 inches (22.4 m) and a draughtof 27 feet (8.2 m). She was powered by four-cylinder triple-expansion steam engines, driving two shafts, which produced a total of 23,000 indicated horsepower (17,000 kW) and gave a maximum speed of 23 knots(43 km/h; 26 mph). The engines were powered by 20 Babcock & Wilcox water-tube boilers and six cylindrical boilers. The ship carried a maximum of 2,150 long tons (2,180 t) of coal and an additional 600 long tons (610 t) of fuel oil that was sprayed on the coal to increase its burn rate. At full capacity, she could steam for 8,130 nautical miles (15,060 km; 9,360 mi) at a speed of 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). The ship's complement was 789 officers and enlisted men.

Her main armament consisted of six BL 9.2-inch Mk X guns in single turrets, two on the centreline and two on each beam, giving a broadside of four 9.2 in guns. Her secondary armament of ten BL 6-inch Mark XI gunswas arranged in single casemates. They were mounted amidships on the main deck and were only usable in calm weather. Twenty Vickers QF 3-pounders were fitted, six on turret roofs and fourteen in the superstructure. The ship also mounted three submerged 18-inch torpedo tubes.

Operational history

Black Prince was laid down on 3 June 1903 at the Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Company's shipyard at Blackwall, London. She was launched on 8 November 1904 and completed on 17 March 1906. When completed, Black Prince served with the 2nd Squadron until 1907, the 1st Cruiser Squadron from 1907–1908, the 5th Cruiser Squadron (as part of the Atlantic Fleet) from 1908–1912 and the Third from 1912–1913.

At the beginning of the First World War, Black Prince was one of the four armoured cruisers serving in the 1st Cruiser Squadron of the Mediterranean Fleet, commanded by Rear-Admiral Ernest Charles Thomas Troubridge. She participated in the pursuit of Goeben and Breslau. Following the escape of the two German ships to neutral Turkey, Black Prince and Duke of Edinburgh were sent into the Red Sea to search for German merchant ships, with Black Prince capturing the German ocean liners Südmark and Istria. On 6 November, she was ordered to Gibraltar to join a squadron of French and British ships to search for German warships still at sea off the African coast. This was cancelled on 19 November after the location of the German East Asia Squadron was revealed by survivors of the Battle of Coronel. Black Prince joined the Grand Fleet in December 1914 and was assigned to the 1st Cruiser Squadron under Rear-Admiral Sir Robert Keith Arbuthnot.

Black Prince was modified in March 1916 as a result of lessons learned at the Battle of Coronel, with the 6-inch guns removed from their casemates and replaced by six 6-inch guns mounted individually behind shields between the beam 9.2-inch turrets.


The ship participated in the Battle of Jutland, where she was sunk with heavy loss of life. The circumstances under which she sank were mysterious for some years after. As the British had lost contact and did not see the ship destroyed, they were unsure as to whether a submarine or surface ship was responsible for sinking Black Prince. During the battle, the 1st Cruiser Squadron was deployed as part of a screening force several miles ahead of the main force of the Grand Fleet, but Black Prince lost contact with the rest of the Squadron as it came into contact with German forces, at about 17:42. Soon after, two other members of the 1st Cruiser Squadron, Defence and Warrior, were heavily engaged by German battleships and battlecruisers, with Defence blowing up and Warrior receiving heavy damage, which later caused her to sink.

There were no positive sightings of Black Prince by the British fleet after that, although a wireless signal from her was received at 20:45, reporting a submarine sighting. During the night of 31 May–1 June, the British destroyer Spitfire, badly damaged after colliding with the German battleship Nassau, sighted what appeared to be a German battlecruiser, with two widely spaced funnels, described as being "...a mass of fire from foremast to mainmast, on deck and between decks. Flames were issuing out of her from every corner." The mystery ship exploded at about midnight. It was later thought that the burning ship may have been Black Prince, with the two midships funnels having collapsed or been shot away.

Recent historians, however, hold to the German account of the ship's sinking. Black Prince briefly engaged the German battleship Rheinland at about 23:35 GMT, scoring two hits with 6-inch shells. Separated from the rest of the British fleet, Black Prince approached the German lines shortly after midnight. She turned away from the German battleships, but it was too late. The German battleship Thüringen fixed Black Prince in her searchlights and opened fire. Up to five other German ships, including the battleships Nassau, Ostfriesland, and Friedrich der Grosse, joined in the bombardment, with return fire from Black Prince being ineffective. Most of the German ships were between 750 and 1,500 yards (690 and 1,370 m) of Black Prince — effectively point-blank range for contemporary naval gunnery. The ship was hit by at least twelve heavy shells and several smaller ones, sinking within 15 minutes. There were no survivors from her crew, all 857 being killed.

The wreck site is designated as a protected place under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986.

Popular culture

In the first episode of Series 4 of the Australian SBS-TV series “Who Do You Think You Are?”, the Australian writer-actor-comedian Shaun Micallef discovered that his great-grandfather Giovanni (John) Micallef, a steward on Black Prince, was among those killed.

Extract from the 10 June 1916 edition of the Cannock Advertiser

Extract from the 10 June 1916 edition of the Cannock Advertiser

Picture 7

Extract from the 17 June 1916 edition of the Cannock Advertiser

Picture 8

The Battle of Jutland, 1916

It was one of the most anticipated naval battles in history. On May 31, 1916 the British Grand Fleet collided with the German High Seas Fleet off the coast of Denmark in an encounter that became known as the Battle of Jutland.

Map showing details and the location of the Battle of Jutland

Picture 9

The conflict had been brewing for a number of years, ever since Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany had begun building up the German navy in order to challenge the naval dominance of the British fleet. The competition slipped into high gear in 1905 when the British introduced the first dreadnought - a super-sized battleship that carried larger guns and was faster than its predecessors. Soon both countries were adding these new super-weapons to their fleets as fast as possible.

The First Battle Squadron Leaving The Forth For The Battle Of Jutland
Painting by William Lionel Wyllie

Picture 10

At the beginning of World War I the British fleet was dispatched to the North Sea where it established a ring of steel off the German coast that effectively prevented the movement of supplies into the country by sea. This left the German fleet bottled up in its ports, eager for a fight, but restricted by Kaiser Wilhelm's fear of losing his precious naval weapon in battle. Finally, in May 1916 the German fleet was ordered to leave its safe harbour and attack the British Grand Fleet.

Unfortunately for the Germans, British Naval intelligence had broken the German code and was aware of its enemy's intentions. On the afternoon of May 31, a combined force of 250 ships collided in an epic duel that lasted into the night and ended when, under cover of darkness, the German fleet escaped to its home port to lick its wounds.

Tactically, the battle was a draw. The final scorecard revealed that the British had lost 14 ships and 6,094 men while the Germans lost 11 ships and 2,551 men. Strategically, however, the British came out the winner as the Germans never again jeopardized their High Seas Fleet by allowing it to battle the British. German surface naval power was thus neutralized. The Germans thereafter relied on its submarine fleet to bring the naval war to its enemy.

British battle cruisers opening fire in the opening stages of the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916
Painting by William Lionel Wyllie

Picture 11

"...then came the big explosion"

Petty Officer Ernest Francis was a gunner's mate aboard the battle cruiser Queen Mary. His ship was one of the casualties of the conflict. It was blown out of the water with the loss of almost its entire crew of 1,000. We join his story as he and his gun crew sits in the turret of one of his ship's big guns and prepares for battle:

"The guns were loaded and brought to the half cock and reported, and then came the order to bring the right gun to the ready...Shortly after this, the first salvo was fired, and we started on the great game.

HMS Queen Mary {Photograph from the Imperial War Museum}

Picture 12

Up till now I had not noticed any noise, such as being struck by a shell, but afterwards there was a heavy blow, struck, I should imagine, in the after 4-inch battery, and a lot of dust and pieces flying around on the top of 'X' turret.

Another shock was felt shortly after this, but it did not affect the turret, so no notice was taken. Then the T.S. reported to Lt Ewert that the third ship of the line was dropping out. First blood to Queen Mary.

...A few more rounds were fired when I took another look through my telescope and there was quite a fair distance between the second ship and what I believed was the fourth ship, due I think to third ship going under. Flames were belching from what I took to be the fourth ship of the line, then came the big explosion which shook us a bit, and on looking at the pressure gauge I saw the pressure had failed. Immediately after that came, what I term, the big smash, and I was dangling in the air on a bowline, which saved me from being thrown down on the floor of the turret.

Everything in the ship went as quiet as a church, the floor of the turret was bulged up and the guns were absolutely useless.

...I put my head through the hole in the roof of the turret and nearly fell through again. The after -inch battery was smashed out of all recognition, and then I noticed that the ship had got an awful list to port. I dropped back again into the turret and told Lt Ewert the state of affairs. He said, 'Francis, we can do no more than give them a chance, clear the turret.'

'Clear the turret,' I said, and out they went...

I went through the cabinet and out on top and Lt Ewert was following me; suddenly he stopped and went back into the turret. I believe he went back because he thought someone was inside. I cannot say enough for Lt Ewert, nothing I can say would do him justice. He came out of the turret cabinet twice and yelled something to encourage the guns crew, and yelled out to me 'All right, Francis'. He was grand, and I would like to publish this account to the World. It makes me feel sore hearted when I think of Lt Ewert and that fine crowd who were with me in the turret.

...I was half way down the ladder at the back of the turret when Lt Ewert went back. The ship had an awful list to port by this time, so much so that men getting off the ladder, went sliding down to port. I got to the bottom rung of the ladder and could not, by my own efforts, reach the stanchions lying on the deck from the ship's side, starboard side. I knew if I let go I should go sliding down to port like some of the others must have done, and probably got smashed up sliding down. Two of my turret's crew, seeing my difficulty, came to my assistance. They were AB Long, Turret Trainer, and AB Lane, left gun No 4. Lane held Long at full length from the ship's side and I dropped from the ladder, caught Long's legs and so gained the starboard side. These two men had no thought for their own safety; they knew I wanted assistance and that was good enough for them. They were both worth a VC twice over.

When I got to the ship's side, there seemed to be quite a fair crowd, and they didn't appear to be very anxious to take to the water. I called out to them 'Come on you chaps, who's coming for a swim?' Someone answered 'She will float for a long time yet', but something, I don't pretend to know what it was, seemed to be urging me to get away, so I clambered over the slimy bilge keel and fell off into the water, followed I should think by about five more men. I struck away from the ship as hard as I could and must have covered nearly fifty yards when there was a big smash, and stopping and looking round, the air seemed to be full of fragments and flying pieces.

HMS Iron Duke, Admiral Jellicoe’s flagship, opening fire at approximately 6.15pm on 31st May 1916 at the Battle of Jutland. Iron Duke is followed by other British Battleships. The ship on the extreme left of the picture is the disabled British destroyer HMS Acasta.
Painting by William Lionel Wyllie

Picture 13

A large piece seemed to be right above my head, and acting on impulse, I dipped under to avoid being struck, and stayed under as long as I could, and then came to the top again, and coming behind me I heard a rush of water, which looked very like surf breaking on a beach and I realised it was the suction or backwash from the ship which had just gone. I hardly had time to fill my lungs with air when it was on me. I felt it was no use struggling against it, so I let myself go for a moment or two, then I struck out, but I felt it was a losing game and remarked to myself "What's the use of you struggling, you're done", and I actually ceased my efforts to reach the top, when a small voice seemed to say 'Dig out'.

I started afresh, and something bumped against me. I grasped it and afterwards found it was a large hammock, but I felt I was getting very weak and roused myself sufficiently to look around for something more substantial to support me. Floating right in front of me was what I believe to be the centre bulk of our Pattern 4 target. I managed to push myself on the hammock close to the timber and grasped a piece of rope hanging over the side. My next difficulty was to get on top and with a small amount of exertion I kept on. I managed to reeve my arms through a strop and I must have become unconscious.

When I came to my senses again I was half way off the spar but I managed to get back again. I was very sick and seemed to be full of oil fuel. My eyes were blocked up completely with it and I could not see. I suppose the oil had got a bit crusted and dry. I managed by turning back the sleeve of my jersey, which was thick with oil, to expose a part of the sleeve of my flannel, and thus managed to get the thick oil off my face and eyes, which were aching awfully. Then I looked and I believed I was the only one left of that fine Ship's Company. What had really happened was the Laurel had come and picked up the remainder and not seeing me got away out of the zone of fire, so how long I was in the water I do not know. I was miserably cold, but not without hope of being picked up, as it seemed to me that I had only to keep quiet and a ship would come for me.

After what seemed ages to me, some destroyers came racing along, and I got up on the spar, steadied myself the moment, and waved my arms. The Petard, one of our big destroyers saw me and came over, but when I got on the spar to wave to them, the swell rolled the spar over and I rolled off. I was nearly exhausted again getting back. The destroyer came up and a line was thrown to me, which, needless to say, I grabbed hold of for all I was worth, and was quickly hauled up on to the deck of the destroyer. The first words I heard spoken were 'Are you English or German?'"


Ernest Francis's account appears in: Moynihan, Michael (editor), People at War 1914-1918 (1973); Buchan, John, The Battle of Jutland (1916); Herman Arthur, To Rule the Waves, How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World (2004).

This Article: "The Battle of Jutland, 1916," is from the website EyeWitness to History,

Local War Memorials

Howard Frank Lockley’s death in action is recorded on the War Memorial in Cannock Town Centre.

The War Memorial in Cannock Town Centre


The panel on Cannock War Memorial recording the death in action of Howard Frank Lockley


Pictures 14 and 15

Howard Frank Lockley death in combat is also recorded on Panel 21 of the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

Portsmouth Naval Memorial

Picture 16


Detail from Portsmouth Naval Memorial

Picture 17

Commonwealth War Graves Commission certificate commemorating Howard Frank Lockley

Picture 18


Below is a partial list of the various websites and publications from which the information in this biography has been obtained:



  • Cannock Library.

If any copyrights or other publishing rights have been infringed then we apologise. This project and others were carried out by volunteers from the Burntwood Family History Group, and by others, as a tribute to those who gave their lives in the Great War of 1914 — 1918. The Burntwood Memorial Project has been supported by the National Lottery, Burntwood Town Council and other local organisations. No charge is made for the completed biographies, copies of which are provided free of charge to the families of the casualties and to local record repositories. Further information may be obtained from the Burntwood Family History Group website.

Item, Source and Credit

1. Extract from the 1841 census showing George Lockley living with his parents John and Ann Lockley © Ancestry
2. Extract from the 1851 census showing George Lockley living with his wife Susanna Emily and four daughters © Ancestry
3. Extract from the 1861 census showing George Lockley living with his wife Selina and two sons George and Arthur © Ancestry
4. Extract from the 1871 census showing George Lockley living with his wife Selina and four sons and two daughters © Ancestry
5. Extract from the 1881 census showing George Lockley living with his wife Selina, two sons Frank and Harry, and daughter Emma © Ancestry
6. Photograph of HMS Black Prince © Imperial War Museum
7. Extract from the 10 June 1916 edition of the Cannock Advertiser © The Cannock Advertiser (and Cannock Library)
8. Extract from the 17 June 1916 edition of the Cannock Advertiser © The Cannock Advertiser (and Cannock Library)
9. Map showing details and the location of the Battle of Jutland © the Wikipedia website
10. “The First Battle Squadron Leaving The Forth For The Battle Of Jutland”, painting by William Lionel Wyllie © Pixels website {}
11. “British battle cruisers opening fire in the opening stages of the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916”, painting by Lionel Wyllie © website {}
12. Photograph of HMS Queen Mary © Imperial War Museum
13. “HMS Iron Duke, Admiral Jellicoe’s flagship, opening fire at approximately 6.15pm on 31st May 1916 at the Battle of Jutland”, painting by Lionel Wyllie © website {}
14. Photograph of Cannock War Memorial © Barry Mort
15.  Third panel on Cannock War Memorial © Burntwood Family History Group (Alan Betts)
16. Photograph of Portsmouth Naval Memorial © Tim Crawley {}
17. Photograph of a detail from Portsmouth Naval Memorial © Tim Crawley {}
18. Certificate commemorating Howard Frank Lockley © Commonwealth War Graves Commission