Able Seaman C.E. Peacock
FIRST NAMES: Charles Ernest
UNIT: H.M.S. P60
STATUS: Killed in Action
DATE OF DEATH: 4th January 1918
CEMETERY OR MEMORIAL: The Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent
Charles was the son of John Richard and Lillie Peacock of 7 West Terrace, Northallerton.
He was killed in action, aged 27, while serving on board H.M.S. PC60, which was a patrol boat which had been specially converted to resemble a merchant ship, and which operated out of Chatham. It was one of the infamous "Q Ships" which were used to entice German submarines to the surface before sinking them with a hidden gun. They sailed alone in the shipping lanes and appeared to be an easy target for a German U-Boat, which would usually surface to sink a lone unarmed merchant vessel with its gun, rather than use up its precious stock of torpedoes. When the U-Boat was within range the Q Ship's concealed gun would be brought into use against the unsuspecting German vessel. The use of Q Ships was kept a closely guarded secret at first, not only for security reasons, but because it was felt that public opinion would not accept the rather "underhand" tactics which they employed.
The PC60 was originally planned to be built as a normal patrol boat (called the P60) but it was converted to a Q Ship and renamed the PC60 during its final commissioning. It was launched on 4th June 1917 under the command of a Lieut. Frederick Richardson. During its operational life as a Q Ship the PC60 was also known as the BURLINGTON and the MEREDITH.
The exact circumstances of Charles Peacock's death are unknown as his ship did, in fact, survive the War and was sold off to the British Legion in 1919. He is listed officially as "killed in action" which means that he most likely was killed in an exchange of fire with an enemy vessel or as a result of an accident at sea. He had been at home on leave only a week before he was killed.