CFHS code : HT155

Parish : Holy Trinity

Inscription : Imperial War Graves Commission headstone H L BAVISTER Stoker 1st Class RN SS 110902 – HMS Pembroke d 3 Sept 1917

Monument : Headstone/Flowerholder

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Lat Lon : 52.201538, 0.13796139 – click here for location

Herbert Lewis Bavister
Bavister  CWGC headstone


This Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone, in the parish area of Holy Trinity, is located in the far south-eastern corner of the cemetery, beyond the southern path.


H. L. Bavister
Stoker 1st class RN
H.M.S. Pembroke
3rd September 1917

Herbert Lewis Bavister (1889‒1917)

Stoker 1st class (SS/110902 (CH)) on HMS Pembroke, Royal Navy, died on 3 September 1917 after a German air raid on the Drill Hall, Chatham Naval Barracks, Kent where he was sleeping. He is commemorated on the war memorial in the Cambridge Guildhall.

Herbert was born on 31 July 1889 in Cambridge. He was the youngest of fourteen children born to William Bavister and Ann Bavister (née Bowles). His father was a general labourer, who brought up his family at 22 Sun Street and 8 Wellington Passage, Cambridge. His mother worked as a charwoman. In 1911 Herbert was living with his widowed mother at 64 New Street. He was working as an assistant fishmonger.

During the war Herbert was a stoker on HMS Pembroke. He died as a result of an air raid on 3 September 1917. Earlier during the day it appears there was an air raid drill held in the town. Subsequently when the real air raid happened many people did not take any notice of it because they thought it was a continuation of the practice. Lights were still on in the town and anti-aircraft guns were not prepared as it was the first night-time raid. In addition it was alleged that a telephone message blunder meant that no attempt was made to alert people that a genuine raid was in fact imminent. Two bombs hit the Drill Hall in the Chatham Naval Barracks. It was being used as temporary sleeping accommodation for a few hundred men attached to HMS Pembroke. The glass in the ceiling shattered and fell on the men sleeping in the hammocks below.

The majority of the men were buried in Woodland Cemetery, Gillingham on 6 September 1917. They were conveyed there on eighteen lorries draped with Union Jack flags. Two miles of people lined the funeral procession route. Some men like Herbert were returned to their hometown and so he is buried in Mill Road Cemetery.

[If you know anything of the life or career of this man, please contact us at]

War Graves Photographic Project
Census returns for England: 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911
England & Wales, FreeBMD Birth Index, 1837‒1915
England & Wales, FreeBMD Marriage Index, 1837‒1915
England & Wales, FreeBMD Death Index, 1837‒1915
England & Wales, Death Index, 1916-2007
UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914‒19
Web: International, Find a Grave Index
UK, Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914‒19
England and Wales National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858‒1966

By Emma Easterbrook and Ian Bent

Herbert Lewis Bavister