Engine Room Artificer 

Asher 

COATES, 

RNR

Died On:
Aged:
30 September 1916

32

Asher Coates was born on 1 March 1884, at Barrow-in-Furness, the youngest of seven children of William Coates, a book-keeper, and his wife Zilpah Susannah (née Goodrum). He attended St James CofE School where his date of birth is given as 1 March 1883 in the 1890 entry register, although birth register and census records all point to 1884. In 1901 he is recorded as an apprentice electrical engineer, employed at the Vickers shipyard.  He was involved in the build of the Peruvian scout cruiser CORONEL BOLOGNESI which was launched in 1906, and he was then attached to the Peruvian Navy for three years.

In January 1911 he married Ellen Lindow Shepherd at Millom, Cumbria.  A newspaper account of the wedding reports that the couple were about to set up home at Greenock, where the groom was working.  In the 1911 census he is recorded as an Electrician on the new battleship HMS COLOSSUS in Portsmouth. COLOSSUS had been built by Scotts of Greenock and was undergoing sea trials at this time, prior to commissioning in August 1911.  Asher Coates was part of a large contingent of shipyard staff supporting the trials.

On 10 December 1914 he enrolled in the Royal Naval Reserve as an Engine Room Artificer, recording his date of birth this time as 1 March 1885.  On 5 January 1915 he joined HMS DOLPHIN, a week later he moved to HMS MAIDSTONE, and on 23 February he was on the books of the submarine depot ship HMS ADAMANT.  ADAMANT left the Eighth Submarine Flotilla at Harwich on 27 March 1915 escorting E11, E14 and E15, and it seems likely that ERA Coates would have been with the depot ship, or possibly one of these three boats.  HMS E7, which he was to join at some stage, did not leave Harwich until the end of May 1915, and travelled to the Mediterranean in company with E2 and E12.

HMS E7 completed one highly successful patrol in the Sea of Marmara during June/July 1915 for which her CO, Lt Cdr Archibald Cochrane was awarded the DSO, and several crew members earned DSMs. Whilst attempting to re-enter the Dardanelles on her next patrol, E7 became entangled in newly-laid anti-submarine nets off Nagara Point. On 4 September 1915, after many hours attempting to work free, Turkish/German attacks forced her to the surface where her crew were all taken prisoner and E7 was scuttled to avoid capture. 

Asher Coates died on 30  September 1916,  one of four members of the crew of HMS E7 to die whilst prisoners of war in Turkey.  He is buried at Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery and is also commemorated on the Cenotaph in Victoria Park in Barrow in Furness.

 

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