Albert Wilfred Rushen
Born 4th June 1893, All Saints, Witham, Essex. One of thirteen children born to Robert Arthur Rushen and Sarah Ann Carlick, both of Witham.
28th June 1911 – At the age of eighteen volunteered for 12 years service in the Royal Navy. Height 5’5″, chest 34″, brown hair, blue eyes, fair complexion.
In the 1911 census Albert is serving overseas as a 1st Class Stoker on HMS “Clio” on the China Station, which had bases in Singapore and Hong Kong.
From 13th June 1914 to 30th April 1915 – HMS “Tyne”, Destroyer Depot Ship at Sheerness, Kent
1st May 1915 to 2nd June 1915 – HMS “Dolphin”, shore base, England.
2nd June 1915 to 1st November 1915 – HMS “Dolphin”, assigned to Submarine “B-1” ex “Viper” which was commissioned on 18 October 1907 and sold for breaking in May 1921.
2nd November 1915 to 6th January 1916 – HMS “Maidstone”. Commissioned at Portsmouth 15th October 1912 “Maidstone” was parent ship for 8th Submarine Squadron. Moved to Harwich July 1914. Between 1914 and 1918 stationed at either Harwich or Great Yarmouth, supporting 8th and 9th Submarine Squadrons.
Albert left HMS “Maidstone” on 6th January 1916 and was posted to HMS “Dolphin”, a submarine base and training facility located at Gosport near Portsmouth, where he remained 2 months, until 20th March 1916.
21st March 1916 to 13th September 1916 – HMS “Titania”, shore base, Chatham, England.
On the 14th September 1916 Albert re-joined HMS “Maidstone” where he signed on with Royal Australian Navy under an Agreement for 3 years.
In December, 1918, the Navy advised that six “J” class submarines were to be given to the Royal Australian Navy and volunteers were called from the existing crews to serve for a 2, 3, or 5 year period, with the promise of immediate 28 days leave and Australian rates of pay. Albert volunteered for a three-year period and was accepted. The “J” boats were commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy in March 1919. On the 25th March 1919 Albert joined HMAS “Platypus”.
The whole flotilla then moved to Vickers yard at Barrow-in-Furness to have refrigeration fitted in place of the beam torpedo tubes. This however, was never done. Stanchions however, were fitted to carry a hawser around the boat to prevent fellows being washed overboard, and on the stern was erected a standard to carry a hawser from the bridge that would carry an awning to protect the deck from the intense heat of the tropical sun. When this work was finished the ships proceeded to the Royal Naval Dockyard at Portsmouth and eventually on April 9th 1919, set off for Australia, under Captain ‘S’, Captain Edward Courtenay (Paddy) Boyle, VC, as part of an Australian Fleet, consisting of HMAS “Australia” (Battle cruiser) and three cruisers, “Sydney”, “Melbourne”, and “Brisbane”, plus six destroyers of the River class and the submarine parent ship “Platypus” escorting six “J” class submarines being sent to set up the Royal Australian Navy’s Second Submarine Flotilla. The fleet eventually arrived in Sydney after a leisurely trip of three months, stopping at Gibraltar, Malta, Suez, Aden, Colombo, Singapore, through the Timor Sea and the Torres Straight via Thursday Islands, then down through the Great Barrier Reef to Brisbane, and then finally to Sydney.
It took such a long time because, after leaving Aden a main propeller shaft broke and on reaching Colombo waited there for a month while a new shaft was freighted from England. The submarines arrived in Sydney in July 1919 and being found in poor condition were immediately placed in refit. In 1920 after extensive work, five boats sailed from Sydney to the new submarine base at Geelong, Victoria. The depot ship “Platypus” and the turret ship HMAS “Cerberus” were moored there also for support.
On the 18th December 1921 Albert returned to the London Depot of the Royal Australian Navy, he had been rated Acting Leading Stoker for the period 21st June 1921 – 8th April 1922 while serving with the RAN.
9th April 1922 to 29th January 1923 – HMS “Pembroke II”, shore base, Chatham. Reverted to Stoker 1st Class on return to the Royal Navy.
30th January 1923 to 17th February 1923 – HMS “Hecla”, destroyer depot ship (ex-“British Crown”, launched 1878, 6,400 tons, 4-12 ponder guns. Originally torpedo depot ship and played important role in developing British torpedo forces).
18th February 1925 to 17th March 1926 – HMS Pembroke II,
Admitted to Royal Navy Hospital Chatham on the 17th March 1926. Invalided from service with duodenal ulcer.
Death at Chatham Naval Hospital reported in the Chelmsford Chronicle 26th November 1926, buried All Saints, Witham.