Charles Victor Groves

My aged Uncle Jim is a Senior Mason, and I asked him earlier this year to find out anything about Charles Victor Groves. He has so far drawn a blank, as needs Groves' lodge number and lodge. I had already mentioned to my Uncle Jim that Groves lived in Ispwich for quite a few years when he retired till his death., but apparently there is no longer any lodge in Ipswich.

Uncle Jim suggested tonight on the 'phone that Groves may have been a member of a ship's lodge, rather than a location. I had not considered this, though I ought to have done, as the late Jack Pryor who taught me Church bellringing when I was a University student was a member of a bellringing lodge, as opposed to a lodge based on a location.

A year or so ago Harland could not find any obituary for Groves when he had access to the newspaper archive, so far as I recall.

So, I suppose my question is twofold; has anyone else found an obituary for Groves, and can anyone give any leads as to which ships he was an officer with? There is scant information so far as I can ascertain other than his WW1 submarine, and The Californian.



Rob Lawes

Hi Julian.

I've just had a very quick look but I've found a copy of Groves RN service document. Though it's heavily watermarked I could make out that he served on Submarine HMS E17 which was scuttled off the coast of Holland and the crew interned in the Netherlands in 1916. He was eventually allowed to return home and if I have read it correctly was subsequently demobilised in 1919.

The Service Docs will list his address on joining and other service information. I will obtain a full copy tomorrow and see if I can gather any more useful information.

I will also see if I can find any other information.


On the freemasonry angle ....

The Grand Lodge of England gave Ancestry access to it's records a few years ago. Have you tried that, Julian ? It's not something I've had any call to search in so I don't know how detailed the registers are but it may be worth a try.

Is there any chance (even a tiny one) that Groves may joined a Scottish lodge or perhaps one in Canada or Australia ?

I'm not a mason myself but have a lot of admiration for the work the lodge in my local area has done in recent years providing free entertainment and day-trips for the local retirement home and funding a number of kids sports teams.

Quite a number of the Titanic's male passengers and crew were Freemasons, from the aristocrats to the stewards. Lord Mersey was quite a senior Mason too IIRC.

Rob Lawes

Further to my last, the Service Certificate proved of little further use since Charles Groves was transferred into RN service it only listed a date of transfer to full time service and recorded no date and place of birth.

I have however discovered the following potentially new information.

A master mariner Charles Victor Groves was appointed to act as an Assessor for the County Court of Northumberland based in Newcastle on Tyne, under the County Courts Admiralty Jurisdiction Act. This was for a 3 year period commencing in 1930 and this was renewed again for another 3 year period in October 1933.

On both registration and renewal of appointment, addresses are given in the Jesmond area of Newcastle. The first is a boarding house called St Margaret's Hotel on Osborne Road and the second is listed as Craigholme, Jesmond Park West.

A search of deaths in the Newcastle register office has turned up nothing for Charles Groves.

It would be a staggering coincidence however if there was another Master Mariner called Charles Victor Groves.

I will continue to see what else I can turn up.

Rob Lawes

I have discovered a Charles V Groves who died in Ipswich in September 1961 at the age of 73. He is listed as having been born in 1888 which, if it is our man, would have made him 23 or 24 in April 1912 which certainly sounds about right.

The potential reason there are no records of his obituary on the Newspaper Archive is that they do not hold any records of newspapers from the Suffolk / Ipswich are that cover that period. The longest running Ipswich basd paper was the Evening Star (now known as the Ipswich Star) and the archive records do not hold any copies of this paper after 1909.

I hope this is of use. I will keep trying to chip away and see what else I turn up.

Rob Lawes

I didn't realise that the death information (4th Sept 1961) was already on the site.

Never mind. Always good to have a bit of practice at internet research.


In fact, all of the information I've posted is available on the main pages. Don't I feel rather silly now.

Hello Rob,

Many thanks for your replies. I am very grateful.

It is only by going over things like you do, that we can find new information, and correct previously held assumptions.

You provided the London Gazette entry for Frank Prentice's MC - which was a significant piece of research on your part.

Your point about the Ipswich local newspapers not yet being part of the Newspaper Archive is a very significant point, and one I had not considered.

I know that Harland did a similar search a year or so ago without any success in respect of Groves. Harland did find the newspaper obituary of Stewart, and the newspaper reports of Stone's disappearance, that have enabled us to correct quite a few details.

Hence my approach to my Uncle Jim to see what Masonic records there are on Groves, as both Reade and Harrison mention that in later life Groves was a prominent Mason.



Rob Lawes

Thanks Julian.

One thing it does show is that being appointed an Assessor by the County Court of Northumberland because of his knowledge as an expert in nautical matters, and his re-appointment for a second 3 year term means that any influence from his involvement in the Californian incident left no mark on his later career.

A man who vounteers for submarine service in World War 1 is absolutely not short on courage.

I also found that the two addresses listed as his residences in Newcastle are still there. The first is still a hotel today. This is a description:

A row of private houses on the east side of Osborne Road between Queen's Road and Grosvenor Road. St. Margaret's Boarding House opened around 1912 in three houses at the Queen's Road end of the terrace. An advertisement dated 1929 describes its pleasant situation in a fashionable suburb, with 'every home comfort, dining rooms with separate tables, billiard room etc'. It later became St. Margaret's Temperence Hotel, then St. Margaret's Private Hotel. In the 1960s it was the Avon Hotel. The four adjacent houses became 'The Methodist International House'. Today the two hotels are one large hotel. The gothic attic dormer windows have been replaced by one modern continuous attic window. Most doors have been replaced by windows. The chimneys have been removed. Most of the other private houses south of Grosvenor Road are also hotels.

The second address, Craigholme is viewable on Google Maps. It looks like a very large house in a nice, expensive looking area. I have to assume that at the time (1930 to 1933) Groves was financially very comfortable.
Hi Rob,

A brief biography of Groves is provided in Reade pages 371 and 372. Date of death 4th September 1961. It mentions that Groves became the Marine Superintendent of the Sheaf Line at Newcastle upon Tyne, and was a well known Admiralty Assessor on Inquiries, the most famous being the loss of the MV Princess Victoria in 1953.

Reade states Groves retired from the sea in 1938 - or in fact retired - which is a bit doubtful - as he continued to work through WW2, and we know he was engaged for the MV Princess Victoria Inquiry in 1953.

It is very annoying that the Public Record Office decided to destroy most records of British Merchant Shipping of the last century.



Rob Lawes

Here are the extracts from the London Gazette showing Groves assessor appointments:


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