PO/X 1148 Marine Pike A C
Albert Charles Pike joined the Royal Marines in 1933 at Deal in Kent. He was the son of Arthur Pike, who had a shoe repair shop at 38 High Street, Hungerford. He served on HMS Royal Oak, a battleship of the Royal Sovereign Class.
The Royal Oak was moving to the Naval Base at Scapa Flow when it was observed entering the then unguarded Holm Sound, by a German spy who had become resident in the area some years previous and had set up a Watch Repair business in Kirkwall. It is believed that the spy had contacted his network in Germany informing them that the Sound was unguarded.
History relates how U-47, under the command of Captain Gunther Prien, was able to get into the Scapa Flow anchorage on 14 October 1940 and fire seven torpedoes at the Royal Oak. Three of these hit the ship and within 13 minutes she had rolled over and sunk. Although 414 lives were saved, Marine Albert Charles Pike, was one of the 810 lost. Gunther Prien was recalled to Berlin to be decorated by Hitler for this action. It was reported, however, that the German spy was not so lucky and was later apprehended.
Albert Pike has no known grave but his name is recorded on the Portsmouth War Memorial.
Brian Sylvester kindly emailed (Sep 2016) to add the following information, from the NWN, 21 Oct 1939: "Mr. Albert Charles Pike, 25 year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. A.C. Pike*, of 38, High-street, Hungerford, was a Royal Marine aboard the Royal Oak.
Born in Hungerford he attended the Council School and joined the Royal Marines seven years ago last June. He was last home at Whitsuntide. He was only married a few months ago**.
His father, Mr. A.C. Pike, is an old soldier, who served for 13 years. He was with the 2nd Wilts in the Great War and lost a leg in a battle fought close to Albert in France.
* Parents' names: Arthur Charles and Mary Jane
** Wife’s name Florence.
Brian Sylvester added: "You may also be interested to know the ship is a designated war grave and that the German Submarine Captain, Prien, "did not survive the war: he and U-47 were lost under unclear circumstances on 7 March 1941, possibly as a result of an attack by the British destroyer HMS Wolverine.” (Wikipedia).