Rank: Private
Number: CH/18185
Date of Death: 3 February 1915
Age: 19
Cemetery: Chatham Naval Memorial

The name of P Pratt is inscribed on an addenda panel to the Stockport War Memorial of names submitted for inclusion after 1925. It is presumed to be the man whose details are above who id not recorded elsewhere on the Memorial but it is impossible to be certain.

Percy Pratt was the third of the four children of Alfred and Elizabeth, listed in the 1901 Census. The family home was then at 47 Stafford Street (and later 43 Canal Street). Nothing else is known of his life except he had attended St Thomas School and was a friend of Ernest Shaw who served with him aboard the ship. It’s not known if the young men had joined the Marines as a career or had joined up after War was declared in August 1914.

HMS Clan McNaughton was a pre-War merchant ship, built in 1911, of 4985 tons. She was requisitioned in November 1914 and hastily converted for wartime use with guns mounted on deck. The crew was also hastily brought together and was mainly comprised of navy reservists. The Marines would have formed the “boarding crew” if any enemy ships had been captured. .

She sailed from Tilbury shortly before Christmas to patrol in the North Atlantic but had to put into Liverpool to deal with a problem before continuing. At about 6am on 3 February, the ship was in radio contact and reported that weather conditions were very bad, with a strong gale blowing. Nothing was ever heard of her again. Some wreckage was found two weeks later in the general area of her last known position but it wasn’t possible to say for certain that it came from the ship.

It is possible that she hit a mine but the combination of the weather, an inexperienced crew and the fact she was now top-heavy from the guns, might also have been the cause of her sinking with the loss of all 261 men on board.

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