John William Helman
John William Helman joined the Royal Navy in June 1914
at the age of 18, enlisting for 12 years, although his
service records indicate that he served as a boy before
After on-shore training and service at sea he volunteered
for training on HMS Hindustan at Chatham for a secret
mission. He then transferred to HMS Daffodil which took
part in the April 1918 raid
on Zeebrugge. Daffodil was a converted Mersey Ferry
used to transport Royal Marines on that raid.
Reports from the time say that he suffered from exposure
and/or "gassing" during this raid. He died in
Castel, Guernsey in 1920 and his death certificate stated
that he was still a serving sailor. The cause of death
was given as pulmonary phthisis.
A local newspaper article shows the unveiling of this
memorial in 1921. It was presented by the London Channel
The description "Hero" is apt as his name was
put forward for a VC in a ship's ballot (ref. London Gazette)
Able Seaman John William Helman
Royal Navy. H.M.S. "Daffodil"
Son of Colour Sergeant E W Helman
Died, aged 24 years.
His name appears on the Parish War Memorial plaque
in St. Andrew's Church in Guernsey, and a special memorial
stands in the churchyard. Following his acceptance for
commemoration, the CWGC added a new headstone to his
War Graves Commission Record
Group members Mark Bougourd & Liz Walton
| After contacting
the Commonweath War Graves Commission we had the following
"If you can prove that John Helman's death was
directly attributable to his military service, for instance
if this is stated on his death certificate or in his service
records, then we will submit a case of non-commemoration
to the Ministry of Defence who decide on such matters"
We have copies of his service record from the Public
Records Office, of his death certificate from the Greffe
in Guernsey and of Admiralty reports mentioning his contribution
of the Zeebrugge operation.
Details have been forwarded to the Admiralty, via the
CWGC, and John William Helman has been accepted for official
commemoration (October 2011).
The Commonweath War Graves Commission erected a standard
headstone on his grave on 20/04/2016