A CHICHESTER resident is featured in a new book about the First World War.
The new book, published this month, tells little-known stories from the First World War, turning the spotlight on many unsung heroes and individuals who lost their lives during the four-year conflict.
One of these figures was 21-year-old Thomas (Tom) Franklin Patten, who signed up aboard HMS Cullist to “do his bit” in the war effort.
Tom, who, in 1911, was working like his father as a carter on a farm, lived with his parent in Hollist Lane, Buddington, near Easebourne.
Tom enlisted in the Royal Navy in 1916 for a 12-year-term and in May, 1917, became a cook’s mate on Cullist.
His decision to join a Q-ship was particularly brave as these vessels were heavily armed merchant ships, with concealed weaponry, which were designed to lure submarines into making surface attacks so they then had the chance to open fire and sink them.
Unfortunately, Tom’s luck ran out in February, 1918, when, following a surprise attack, the ship was torpedoed and sank within minutes. Of the total of 70 crewmen, 43 were killed, including Tom.
He is commemorated at Portsmouth Naval Memorial and on Lodsworth and Selham war memorials.
His experiences are featured in Bayly’s War, the sixth book by naval historian Steve Dunn, who hopes to raise awareness of the exploits of many ordinary men who found themselves in extraordinary situations, showing both bravery and determination.
‘Bayly’s War’ focuses on the Royal Navy’s Coast of Ireland Command and the key role its men played in the Allied victory. The sailors were in a fight for survival as German U-boats targeted trade in the cold waters of the Atlantic in an attempt to drive Britain to submission through lack of food and critical resources.