• SImon Biggs

Bugler CE Timmins, 14, Youngest Marine Killed in WW1


TIMMINS, CHARLES ERNEST PO/19601 Bugler Age:14 (Born 7th Dec. 1902) Royal Marine Light Infantry H.M.S "Cardiff.".

Son of Private John Llewellyn and Amy Timmins, of 33, Beresford Rd., Gillingham, Kent.


His father was killed in action on H.M.S. Hogue in 1914 and so wanting to get his own back on the enemy he left school at 14 and joined the Marines, the only role available at his age was that of boy bugler.

Charles served on the C-class light cruiser H.M.S Cardiff.

On the 17th of November 1917 HMS Cardiff was involved in a light cruiser action off Heligoland. The mission objective was to surprise the enemy, and try and force him into action.

He was killed when a piece of shrapnel from a shell blew a hole in his ships funnel and pierced his bugle whilst he was sounding the alert.

This portrait of ex-pupil, Bugler Boy Timmins was unveiled at Napier Road School, Gillingham, on the 14th April 1919 by Admiral Sir Frederick Sturdee who was Commander in Chief of The Nore.


Bugler Timmins is representative of the thousands of Kent men and boys who were recruited into the Royal Navy where they served and, in many cases, perished.

Since the Royal Marine Buglers Branch was part of the Corps, not the Royal Marines Band Service, until 1976, the names of the Buglers who lost their lives in the two World Wars were not included on the Rolls of Honour. In 2010 a Roll of Honour for the men of the Royal Marines Buglers Branch was obtained and hung in the Memorial Room of the Royal Marines School of Music. The design includes the Corps crest and the dates '1918' and '1945' over the three panels that bear the names and dates.


(John Ambler, Royal Marines Band Service Historian, March 2014) (See inscriptions here)


Timmins bugle was presented to the Type 45/ Daring-class air-defence destroyer HMS Dragon in 2012.

See the location of Second Battle of Heligoland Bight here: RM A Geo History


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