Harry Donovan lived with his mother at 5 Church Road, Oldswinford, and had worked at Stourbridge Laundry before 1912. In that year he joined the Royal Navy and by 1914 he was a stoker on HMS Invincible. On this Dreadnought type battle cruiser, he had already taken part in the battles of the Falkland Isles in 1914 and of Heligoland Bight in 1915. During ten days' leave in 1916 he married Edith Pugh of Hagley Road on the 1st May. He returned to his ship which was stationed at the great naval base at Scapa Flow in the Orkneys in the Grand Fleet's 3rd Battle Squadron. When the German High Seas fleet sailed out into the North Sea on the 31st July, they met the Royal Navy in the battle of Jutland. The 3rd Battle Squadron under Admiral Hood made all speed to the battle area with Invincible as its leading battle cruiser. Late in the afternoon, without pause, it engaged the enemy. However, the smoke of battle cleared and she became clearly visible to the German battleships. Several direct hits were sustained, including one on the Q turret. Flash then penetrated the magazine and Invincible blew up immediately. Six men survived the explosion, and over a thousand were killed in the devastation. Among them was Stoker Harry Donovan. A few hours earlier Able Seaman Sidney Hall from Enville Street died in a similar explosion on HMS Queen Mary. Harry Donovan was 24 years of age and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval, Stourbridge and Oldswinford church Memorials.
Town Hall, Priory Street, Dudley
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