James Brownhill was the son of Mr Joe and Mrs Brownlow of 18 Low Town, Holly Hall. He had joined the Royal Navy before the outbreak of war and in 1916 he was serving in HMS Queen Mary. She was launched in 1912 and was the most modern of the battle-cruisers of the Royal Navy in 1914. She displaced 27,000 tons and had a crew of 1200. She took part in the 1914 Battle of Heligoland Bight and was in the 1st Battle-cruiser Squadron in 1916. When the German High Seas fleet emerged into the North Sea on the 31st May for the decisive attack on the Royal Navy, the Squadron under Beatty moved rapidly from Rosyth to intercept. Off Jutland the Squadron closed with the German battle cruisers. Queen Mary was shelled by Seydlitz and then seriously damaged by Derfflinger. She was sunk after internal explosions and only 18 of her crew of 1284 survived. However, the outcome of the Battle of Jutland was that the German fleet retreated to its base and did not emerge again. Stoker James Brownhill was 34 years of age and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial and on the Dudley Memorial. Leading Stoker Joseph Knott and Marine Walter Franks, also of Dudley, died in the same ship.
Town Hall, Priory Street, Dudley
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