Charles was born in 1881 in Ermington. Son of William and Jane Martin, his father was an Agricultural Labourer in Modbury. Married to Edith, he lived at Bittaford
He served as a Chief Stoker on HMS Defence, a Minotaur class armoured cruiser built in the first decade of the twentieth century, the last one built for the RN. On 31 May 1916 the ship was at the centre of the action during the Battle of Jutland, the largest naval battle of the war. Escorting the main body of the Grand Fleet, Admiral Arbuthnot, commanding HMS Defence, attacked the German cruiser Wiesbaden that had been badly damaged in a clash ahead of the British battlecruisers. He pressed home his attack but the ship was hit by two 12in salvoes from SMS Friedrich der Grosse, Admiral Scheer’s flagship. HMS Defence was fired upon by one German battlecruiser and four dreadnoughts as she attempted to engage the disabled German light cruiser. She was struck by two salvoes from the German ships that detonated her rear magazine. The fire from that explosion spread to the ship’s secondary magazines, which exploded in turn. The ship exploded at 6:20 pm with the loss of all men on board;between 893 and 903 men were killed.
Charles died on 31st May 1916 aged 33.
|Next of Kin:||Son of William and Jane Martin|
|Died On:||31st May 1916|
|Where Buried:||At Sea|
|Memorial:||Plymouth Naval Memorial. Ref 11|