Clement Hunt

Clement was born in Saxlingham Thorpe on 10 April 1895. His parents were Priscilla and James Hunt. His father was a tile maker and brick moulder. He had an older brother, Reuben, born in 1893 and two other siblings who died.

In 1911 he was working as a cowman on a farm.

The family lived in a cottage on the Turnpike, Saxlingham Thorpe. They lived in the middle cottage, their neighbours were the Thrower and Kemp families.

On 26 and 27 August 1912 Norfolk was subjected to an unprecedented rain storm. Seven inches of rain fell in one day, the equivalent of 4 month’s rain. Norwich and the surrounding areas were inundated. Eighty bridges in the county were destroyed including the one which the turnpike used between Saxlingham Thorpe and Newton Flotman. An arch of the bridge was washed away.

 The Hunt family lived near the river just across the road from the Flour mill. It is not known if their house was flooded but Clement was involved with the rebuilding of the bridge. He is pictured in several photographs working on the rebuilding of the bridge. It is presumed these were taken in 1912/1913.

Clement is on the far left, 4th man back, leaning on the scaffolding

In this photograph Clement is on the far left leaning on a spade

On the completion of the bridge, Clement is sitting on the left with a spade.

It is known that as a young man he was interested in cricket and is in a picture of a local cricket taken before the war. It is not known if this was the Saxlingham Nethergate or Newton Flotman’s team.

Clement is sitting on the left ( photo possibly in 1910).

On 29 December 1915 he joined the Navy as a stoker, service number K30187. He was 5 feet 7 inches tall with brown hair, grey eyes and a fresh complexion. He gave his occupation as a builder’s labourer.

 The first ship that he served on was HMS Pembroke where he stayed until 11 April 1916. He transferred to HMS Indomitable where he eventually became a Stoker 1. He stayed with this ship until he demobilised in March 1919.

Clement is on the right. His cap has HMS Indomitable written on it.

He joined HMS Indomitable just before the ship was involved in the Battle of Jutland on 31May 1916.

This was the largest naval battle of the First World war and involved around 250 vessels and 100,000 men. It was between the British Grand Fleet and the German High Seas Fleet and took place off Denmark’s Jutland Peninsula. The battle took place over 36 hours and resulted in the death of 6,097 British and Empire, and 2,551 German sailors.

HMS Indomitable with Clement on board was part of Vice Admiral David Beatty’s force which left from the Firth of Forth, Edinburgh to take part in the battle. The sister ship HMS Indefatigable was one of the ships destroyed in the battle with the loss of all its crew (1500 men).

Neither side won the battle but the damage caused to the German Navy was such that after the battle it did not put to sea again during the war. Also as a result of the battle the United States of America joined the war.

 Clement had a small silver medal commemorating the battle. The inscription on this medal reads :- ‘ To the glorious memory of those who fell that day. May 31, 1916. The German Fleet attacked off the coast of Jutland and drove back into port. Admiral Sir John Jellicoe Commander in Chief. Vice Admiral David Beatty Commander Battle Cruiser Fleet’. This medal was an unofficial civil medal sold to raise funds for naval orphanages.

At the end of the war Clement moved to work in Durham.

On 30th July 1921 he married Mary Griffiths (nee Lamb), born 8 January 1889, in Consett Parish Church. She was a widow, her husband, who had been a musician, was killed in France 15 December 1917. When she married Clement she had four living children from her first marriage. Two of her sons had previously died, one in 1913 aged 3 years and one in 1916, whilst her husband was in the army, aged 9 years.  

Mary and Clement

Clement and Mary had one son, James Clement, born 6 April 1923.

Wedding of Reuben Hunt, 1929 at Swardeston, Norfolk. Clement is in the centre at the back, to his left is his father, James Hunt

In 1939 the family were living at Hysop Terrace, Consett, County Durham and Clement was a waterworks foreman pipe joiner. He was also in the Auxiliary Fire Service. James was an electrician apprentice and Betsy Griffiths, his step daughter, who was still living at home, was a nurse.

In 1940 he became the Water Bailiff for Tunstall reservoir, which is situated north of Wolsingham, north west Durham. He worked there until he retired in April 1960.

Reservoir House, Tunstall Reservoir

 With the job came Reservoir House, which was according to his grandson is a wonderful house on the edge of the reservoir.

Mary and Clement at Tunstall Reservoir

Clement with his son, James, and grandson, Stephen, in the late 1950s

He and his family visited his mother, Priscilla, in Saxlingham Thorpe from time to time, travelling there in the early days by train to Norwich. During the Second World War Clement visited with his wife, his son, James, and Nancy, James’s fiancée. Clement said that Saxlingham was only a few miles from Norwich and so they could walk there from the station. For the rest of her life Nancy would joke that Norfolk miles were much longer than miles in the rest of the country. Saxlingham Thorpe was in fact at least eight miles from the railway station!

Priscilla Hunt in her garden in Saxlingham Thorpe

Mary died of cancer on 24 January 1958 in Reservoir House.

When Clement retired in 1960 he moved to the nearby village of Frosterley, where he lived until his death on 2 January 1968


England & Wales, Birth, marriage, death index 1837-2005

UK Census Collection

1939 Register-

Royal Navy Seamen 1899- 1919

Norfolk Electoral Rolls-Southern Division Saxlingham Nethergate and Thorpe,  (Absent Voters Lists 1918-1920)  Information about Jutland Medal


Eastern Daily Press 16 August 2016 – details of Norfolk Floods 1912 31 May 2016 Battle of Jutland

Photograph of 1912 Floods, courtesy of Michael Wilkinson.

Many thanks to Stephen Hunt, grandson of Clement Hunt for photographs of his grandfather and family, and for invaluable family information and stories. It was really good to meet him and his wife. I greatly appreciate his interest in the project and the generosity of his time.

If anyone has any photographs or information about this person, please contact me. Email