Alfred Norman Rankin Burdett

Name Alfred Norman Rankin Burdett
Corps Royal Navy
Rank Able Seaman
Service No. J47045
Date/Place of entry 24 November 1915
Date of death 5 July 1940
Memorial/Grave Chatham Naval Memorial

Alfred Norman Rankin Burdett (Burditt) was born on 1st February1899 in Skegness, the second child of Alfred Burdett and his wife Lizzie. Alfred was one of the eleven children of Anne Gray Aldwinckle, a daughter of the well-to-do Middleton Aldwinckle farming family and her husband Charles Burditt. Alfred was therefore a cousin of Bartle Essex Aldwinckle. To read about this branch of the family see the account of Alfred’s elder brother Charles Reginald Burdett.

In 1891 Alfred Burditt senior was employed as a railway signalman in Hucknall Torkard, Nottingham. He subsequently worked on the railways around Lincolnshire and Yorkshire and by 1911 was living at Station Cottage, Naburn with his wife and four children. Naburn is on the River Ouse four miles south of York. The station building is now a hostel on the York-Selby cycle route which was formerly the railway track bed.

Alfred junior joined the Royal Navy as a ship’s boy on 24 November 1915 and signed on for twelve years’ service on 1st February 1917. His wartime active service was spent on HMS Caesar, a pre-Dreadnought Majestic class Battleship which in 1917 was stationed in Bermuda while carrying out Atlantic patrols. In September 1918 the Caesar sailed from Bermuda, arriving in Malta in late October then continuing to Istanbul. After the armistice was signed the ship supported operations in the Black Sea against the Bolshevik government of Russia. There is a detailed account of HMS Caesar’s movements at
Alfred transferred to another ship in September 1919 and remained in the navy until 4 September 1928. His last posting was on HMS Whirlwind, a W-class destroyer. In 1924 he had married Hilda Edgley in Hammersmith and the couple’s two daughters were born there.

In World War Two Alfred returned to the navy and to HMS Whirlwind. Just before 6.30pm on 5 July 1940 the ship was hit by a torpedo fired by the German submarine U-34 southwest of Ireland. The forepart of the ship was lost immediately and the remainder was scuttled by HMS Westcott after she picked up fifty seven survivors from the Whirlwind’s complement of one hundred and fourteen. Alfred was among the remaining fifty seven who drowned.
For an account of the historic extended Aldwinckle family see John Bartholomew Aldwinckle. The following list gives the names of all known servicemen who were descended from Aldwinckles living Cottingham and Middleton in the nineteenth century.

(I also have information on a further five servicemen descended from the Aldwinckle family of Drayton in Leicestershire whose ancestors moved there from Cottingham in the eighteenth century. They are Ernest Aldwinckle, George Harry Aldwinckle, William Harold Aldwinckle, Herbert Aldwinckle and William James Aldwinckle. Please contact me <> if you would like to know more.)

Servicemen descended from Thomas Aldwinckle (1816-1899):
William Augustus Aldwinckle, Ralph Aldwinckle and Ernest Henry Aldwinckle.

Servicemen descended from Henry Aldwinckle (1770-1842):
John Bartholomew Aldwinckle, Charles Henry Aldwinckle, Arthur Edwin Aldwinckle, Frederick Wade Coles, Albert Edward Aldwinckle, Archibald Aldwinckle, Frank Aldwinckle, Harry Aldwinckle, William John Aldwinckle,  Harry Aldwinckle, George Robert Aldwinckle, Thomas Aldwinckle and Walter Aldwinckle.

Servicemen descended from William Aldwinckle (1807-1891):
Bartle Essex Aldwinckle, Charles Reginald Burdett, Alfred Norman Burdett and William Edward Burdett.

Servicemen descended from John Aldwinckle (1817-1884):
John Aldwinckle, Percy Aldwinckle, Henry Aldwinckle and Bernard Aldwinckle.