John Sharpey Schafer


John Sharpey Schafer


First World War

Date of Death / Age


Rank, Service Number & Service Details

Royal Navy
H.M.S. “Gaillardia”

Awards: Service Medals/Honour Awards

1914 /15 Star, British War and Victory medals

Cemetery/Memorial: Name/Reference/Country

Panel 27.
United Kingdom

UK & Other Memorials

Not on the Elstree memorials
North Berwick Memorial
St. Baldreds Church Memorial, North Berwick

Pre War

John Sharpey Schafer was the elder son of Sir Edward Sharpey Schafer, Kt. Bach., LL.D., F.R.S., of Edinburgh University and Marly Knowe, North Berwick, co. Haddington, and his wife, Maud, eldest daughter of Adolphus William Dixey. John was brother to Lieut. T. S. H. Schafer who also died in the war.

John was born in Elstree, Herts on 29 June, 1881 and educated at Ascham House, Bournemouth, and H.M.S, Britannia, Dartmouth (passing in second on the list). John moved with the family to Little Gillions, Croxley Green around 1889. It is not clear when he left Croxley Green but by 1901, aged 19, he had joined the Navy and was at the Royal Naval College in Greenwich.

He married at St. Mary Abbott’s Kensington on 9 November 1907, Ruth youngest daughter of William Hutchison, and had two sons: Edward Peter, b. 22 Sept. 1908 and John Michael, b. 18 Oct. 1911.

Schafer, John Sharpey, Acting Commander, Royal Navy: served as Midshipman on H.M.S. Bonaventure, on the China station; subsequently served as Sub-Lieut. in home waters, and as Lieut. on the Indian Station, where he was engaged in various expeditions connected with the suppression of the slave trade and the illicit importation of arms on the Somaliland cost and in the Persian Gulf; was appointed Naval Assistant in the Hydrographic Department of the admiralty in March 1901; was placed, at his own request, in the Retired List as Lieut.-Commander in 1912; went to Malacca in May of the same year, being engaged in rubber planting.

Ruth remarried and took the surname Bateman-Champain of Greystones, Shanklin, Isle of Wight.

Wartime Service

On the outbreak of war rejoined the Navy, being appointed to the staff of the admiral in command of the China station in Singapore; in Jan. 1915, was appointed to H.M.S. King George, Flagship of the 2nd Battle Squadron; was present in her at the Battle of Jutland 31 May 1916; promoted Acting Commander and Navigator on the Staff soon after the engagement. He was instrumental in introducing improvements in tactics which have been adopted by the Admiralty; in Nov. 1917, he was selected for special surveying service, in connection with the establishment of the Great Northern Barrage Mine Field between Scotland and Norway, and temporarily appointed to H.M.S. Gaillardia for this purpose and was lost when that ship was sunk by a mine 22 March 1918.


Brian Thomson