Able Seaman 

Ernest John 


Royal Navy

Died On:
6 August 1915


Ernest Keane was born on 7 December 1887 in Bangor, County Down, the son of Richard Keane, serving with HM Coastguard, and his wife Elizabeth. The 1901 census records the family living at Templecorran, County Antrim, just across Belfast Lough from Bangor, with Richard, age 60 and widowed, and Ernest along with two older sisters and two younger brothers.

He joined the Royal Navy at Portland (HMS BOSCAWEN) on 7 March 1903, giving his previous occupation as ‘messenger’. From September 1905 to the end of 1907 he served in the cruiser HMS ARROGANT (prior to her conversion to depot ship), being rated Able Seaman in March 1907.  After training at the Devonport Torpedo School, HMS DEFIANCE, he qualified as a Torpedoman and was then drafted to the depot ship HMS LEANDER where he served in Torpedo Boat Destroyers. 

In October 1910 he joined the submarine depot ship HMS VULCAN and was subsequently drafted to HMS HEBE, ALECTO and FORTH.  Details of submarines he served in at this time are not known.  In October 1913 he was drafted to HMS EGMONT, the depot ship at Malta. At this stage, the submarines HMS B9, B10 and B11 had been serving in the Mediterranean since 1912. It is known from newspaper death notices that Keane served in B9, and it is possible he joined this boat as soon as he arrived in the Mediterranean. His parent ship changed in November 1914 when EGMONT was relieved as Malta depot ship by HMS BLENHEIM, also serving the 5th Destroyer Flotilla. His parent ship changed once again in April 1915, on the arrival of HMS ADAMANT as a dedicated submarine depot ship at Mudros, the harbour on the Island of Lemnos, used as the forward base for Gallipoli operations.

Ernest Keane died  from enteric fever on 6 August 1915 in the 21st General Hospital at Alexandria, Egypt.  He is buried at Alexandria (Chatby) Military and War Memorial Cemetery.



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