Clement Arthur Powell was born in Woodford in 1896. Clement had a twin brother, Leonard, and five older brothers and sisters. Clement’s father, George Powell, was an Insurance Agent who had moved to Woodford before the twins were born. The family lived at three different addresses between 1891 and 1911. In 1911, Clement was working as an errand boy for a coal merchant, and lived with his family at Corfe Villa, 98 Stanley Road, South Woodford.
Clement joined the Navy and after three months was posted to the minelayer HMS Brilliant. He was invalided to Chatham, and then sent back to active duty on the HMS Char, as an Officer’s Steward (3rd Class).
HMS Char requisitioned from the North Eastern Railway Co., was an patrol and inspection vessel based at Ramsgate, patrolling an area of the Thames Estuary between the Downs and the North and South Forelands. She was holed when run down by the Belgian steamer Erivan at approximately 01:00 hours on 16th January 1915 while attempting to get alongside for an inspection during a severe gale. Both vessels took on water, but the damage to Char was particularly extensive and it sank between Deal and the Goodwin Sands with the loss of all eighteen crew members. The Erivan was unable to offer assistance due to the weather and damage to its bow.
Clement’s twin, Leonard, joined the Royal Engineers as a driver. He survived the war but died in March 1934, aged 38 years old.
Research by Adrian Lee and Redbridge Museum
Commonwealth War Graves Commission