1st World War
Date of Birth
Date Attested
Regimental Number
Leading Seaman
Date of Death
Age at Death
26 years 9 months
Biographical Summary

Name:                 COATES     Alfred                                                                                                                                                        Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve                                                                              Rank:                   Leading Seaman     2971                                                                                                        Naval Unit :          HMS Vivid III
Date of Birth:       June 21, 1892
                            Exeter – Devononshire – England 
Date of Death:     March 19, 1919     26 years     9 months
Cemetery:            Plymouth (Weston Mill) Cemetery – Plymouth – Devon – England
                            C     3810
Mother:                Mrs. Hannah Coates – Morcambe - Lancashire – England
Cousin:                Frank Coates – Usborne Township – County of Huron - Ontario
Cousin:                Paul Coates – Centralia – Ontario.

Alfred was born in England on June 21, 1892. He departed from Liverpool - England  and arrived in New York City on the Laurentic on March 20, 1911 at the age of 18. He then travelled to Niagara Falls and crossed into Canada on March 11, 1911. Once in Canada he went to live with his cousin Frank who lived in Usborne Township. While there he was employed as a farmer. 


It is not known where he enlisted but we feel he enlisted around the beginning of December 1916. Upon enlistment he stood 5' 7" tall, had a fresh complexion with blue eyes and light brown hair. His first posting as an Ordinary Seaman was to HMCS Niobi based in Halifax which had recently become a depot ship for the Canadian Navy.


Ordinary Seaman Coates was then posted to the United Kindom where his first posting was aboard HMS Victory which was the flagship of Admiral Nelson. At this time she had been serving as a school. He served on the Victory up until late September of 1917. Between October 5 - November 3,1917 he served on HMS Wallington which could possibly have been a trawler or a patrol craft.   As 1917 came to a close Ordinary Seaman Coates found himself being posted to HMS Pekin which was the name of the auxiliary patrol shore base which was based at Grimbsy - Lincolnshire. One trawler No. 24 also had the name HMS Pekin. While posted here he became an Able Seaman.                                                                                                                                        At some point between the middle of June and the middle of September 1918 he received a further rank increase to Leading Seaman. He served here from November 4, 1917 - September 30, 1918.                    Leading Seaman Coates was then posted to HMS Vivid III on October 1, 1918 until the time of his death on March 9, 1919. HMS Vivid III where men detached from sea duty quite possibly joined the Royal Navy Trawler Section. It is possible as well that Leading Seaman Coates served aboard HMS Cuckoo which was an Ant-class iron screw gunboat which went to Devenport - Devonshire as a baseship under the name HMS Vivid between 1919-1922.
He served as Leading Seaman until his death on March 19, 1919.                                                                  Leading Seaman Coates died as the result of Mastoiditis. It is believed he had an infection of the mastoid bone which was part of the temperal bone of the skull and it is located behind the ear. The area behind his ear was red,swollen and inflamed and he had a high grade fever and headaches. This probably began as a inner ear infection and likely as it progressed his ear would have been infected and seeping. It is possible the infection could have penetrated his skull which led to his death.                                                                                          He was awarded the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.                                                                        Alfred is honoured and remembered on the Exeter - Ontario Cenotaph, on the Usborne-Hensall Cemetery Cenotaph and on the Hurondale Memorial.

grave photo on ancestry