John  Rae likeness

John  Rae cap badgeStoker 1st Class John Rae

Royal Navy "H.M.S. Invincible"
Service No: 290344

John  Rae grave





Personal details

Family Information

Son of Thomas Rae (07/08/1838-22/10/1911) previously married on the 21/12/1860 to Isabella Gilchrist Rae (John's mother) and stepmother Christina Rae (03/07/1844- ) of 103c Bank St, Coatbridge. Christina was previously married to Alexander Brown (06/08/1863). John's younger brother Bombardier Archibald Rae DCM of the Royal Field Artillery was Killed in Action on the 24/10/1916, 5 months after he fell. He had 2 other brothers serving at the time of his death, Thomas with the Gordon Highlanders and William with the Seaforth Highlanders. His younger brother George was a Hairdresser in Coatbridge. His mother had 2 grandsons and 2 nephews also serving. From the 1891 Census - Address - 26 Brechin's Land, Coatbridge - Thomas Rae aged 52, Christina Rae aged 46, William Rae aged 25, Alexander Rae aged 19, John Rae aged 18, Archibald Rae aged 13, George Rae aged 9, boarders Charles Henry Hocker aged 39, his wife Ellen Hocker aged 30, their daughter Winifred M Hocker aged 2. John's Pension was awarded to his stepmother Christina.

Born / Resided

Coatbridge / 103c Bank St, Coatbridge


Died on the 31/05/1916 at the Battle of Jutland


Coatbridge 1898


Regular Seaman / North British Iron Works / Iron Heater when he was 18


41 / DOB - 31/10/1874

Buried / Remembered

Portsmouth Naval Memorial (19), England

Cemetery / Memorial Information

Standing on Southsea Common overlooking the promenade in Portsmouth, Hampshire, is the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. It commemorates nearly 10,000 naval personnel of the First World War and almost 15,000 of the Second World War who were lost or buried at sea. Among those commemorated at Portsmouth are most of the crew of HMS Bulwark, who died in 1914, and 127 men who lost their lives when the mine layer HMS Princess Irene exploded while anchored near Sheerness on 27 May 1915.

Additional Information

ADDITIONAL FAMILY INFORMATION - From the 1881 Census - Address - Dundyvan Rd Walkers Land, Coatbridge - Thomas Rae aged 42, Christina S Rae aged 36, James Rae aged 20, half-brother Robert Brown aged 17, half-sister Christina Brown aged 13, Thomas Rae aged 12, half-sister Jane Brown aged 11, half-brother Alexander Brown aged 9, John Rae aged 6, Archibald Rae aged 3. John was on board the battle cruiser "Invincible" at the Battle of Jutland. "Invincible" went to the rescue of the Chester, one of her scout cruisers, which had been chased by four enemy cruisers (the Frankfurt, Pillau, Elbing and Wiesbaden) and had taken heavy casualties. At 17:53 "Invincible’s" 12-inch guns opened fire at 8,000 yards. The Wiesbaden, the last ship in the line, was hit as she turned to run: one of the "Invincible’s" massive shells had burst through the side in the engine room bringing her to a stop. A half hour later "Invincible" had – after having steering problems – joined up with Beatty’s line and roughly 9,000 yards distance from Hipper’s battlecruisers. At 18:26 she was heavily engaged with the Lützow and causing heavy damage so much so that Rear Admiral Horace Hood encouraged his gunner officer, Herbert Danreuther (a godson of Richard Wagner) saying “Your firing is very good. Keep at it as quickly as you can. Every shot is telling”. Minutes later, the fog back that had been protecting parted and the ship was lit up by the sunlight which fell through. At 18:31 Lützow now landed a shell that penetrated Q turret and set her magazines on fire. The explosion was like a small nuclear mushroom cloud. The ship split in half and sank in 90 seconds killing all but 6 of her 1031 crew including the Rear-Admiral commanding her Horace Hood. H.M.S. "Invincible" was broken into 2 parts, bow and stern, with the destroyer H.M.S. "Badger" picking up survivors. There were 6 survivors. Four were picked up by Badger. Two, including Hubert Danreuther, were seen at 19:02 by H.M.S. "Colossus". At 19:05 Jellicoe himself signalled Badger: “Is wreck one of our ships? Reply – Yes, Invincible”. John was previously involved in victories at Heligoland on the 26/08/1914 and the Falkland Islands on the 08/12/1914. See Directory for John's younger brother Archibald's page. Many thanks to my friend Dom for a photo (1) of John's name on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. John is also remembered on the Dundyvan Parish Church Roll of Honour (see photos) and in the St Augustine's Parish (book) Roll of Honour. See photos for John's Newspaper clippings x 3, his name on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial x 2, his Royal Navy Register of Seaman's Services, his Naval Medal and Award Rolls, his CWGC Grave Registration, his name on the Portsmouth Memorial Panel List, John's Pension Records x 2 and the Royal Navy Stoker 1st Class arm badge.

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I am the family historian for the Rae Family line that emigrated to America. Thank you for your ultimate sacrifice.
Michelle Kolbe, Peoria, Arizona, USA, 18/08/2019 2:55PM

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