Thomas Edmund Harrison (1879- 1914) – Lieut Commander Royal NavyThomas Edmund Harrison, the second son of Mathew and Lucy Harrison of Shiprods,was born on the 16th April 1879 and joined the Royal Navy at the age of 15 as a Midshipman.A career Naval Officer he served on a large number of ships and shore bases and worked his way up through Sub-Lieutenant (1898) and Lieutenant (1899) to the rank of Lieutenant Commander in 1907.His record charts the progression of a clever, zealous, trustworthy young officer with just one slight blemish where a commanding officer notes that “he has twice had to be warned that he drinks more wine than is good for him”!It seems however that by about 1913 his enthusiasm for the Navy was waning, due perhaps to the fact that he had applied for but failed to get a position of Acting Commander. In January 1914 his record notes that he had applied for a Coast Guard position and then in April 1914 that he had been placed, at his own request, on the retired list.Quite what he was doing on HMS Akoubir in the September of that year is not clear but he certainly was on the ship off the Dutch coast on the 22ndof the month when she was sunk by a German torpedo.Three more or less obsolete cruisers – Akoubir, Houge and Cressy – manned mostly by reservists and part of the 7thCruiser Squadron were on patrol in the North Sea when, due to heavy weather on 17thSeptember, the squadron's accompanying destroyers had been forced to return to shore. Shortly afterwards their flagship - Euryalus- also returned to port, this time for re-fuelling on the 20th, leaving the three old ships very much to their own devices.Little if any action was expected and submarines were, at that point, not considered a significant threat so the three aging ships proved a tempting target, and “easy meat” for U boat U9 (under the command of Kapitänleutnant Otto Weddigen), passing through on her way back to base. Akoubir, Houge and Cressy were all sunk with a loss of some 1400 men. Thomas Edmund Harrison has no grave but is commemorated on a number of memorials, including the Chatham Naval Memorial. For his service he was awarded the 1914/15 Star, the Victory and British War Medals.Thomas’s service record survives and can be found at the National Archives in Kew.