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Name: Thomas Watts

Burial Number: 1268

Gender: Male

Occupation: Petty Officer Royal Navy

Distinction: Coastguard Chief Officer

Born: 12/06/1865

Died: 11/11/1926

Buried: 16/11/1926


Thomas Watts was born in Nettlecombe, Somerset, on 12th June 1865, he was the son of John Watts, 29yrs, Under Gamekeeper, and Ann, 30yrs; he had 3 siblings, Selina b.1863, Fanny b.1868, and William b.1870.

At the age of 15yrs, Thomas joined the Royal Navy as a boy sailor, he was just 5ft 2ins, with light brown hair and blue eyes. On his 18th birthday in 1883 Thomas, now 5ft 6ins, signed on for 10yrs, his service was extended in 1892 and he completed 40yrs in the Royal Navy.

Thomas married Fanny Tuckfield, 23yrs, on 11th September 1890, in the Parish Church of Stogumber, Somerset. They had 2 daughters, Edith b.1892 and Daisy Ann b.1894.

In 1900, Thomas transferred to a position as Boatman with the coastguard service * which was part of the naval reserve.  He served at various coastguard stations including Selsey and Southampton, accompanied by his wife and children. He worked his way up through the ranks and was eventually a Chief Officer when he retired at 55yrs of age in 1920.

In 1921 Thomas and Fanny were living at 87, Rowlands Road, Worthing, Sussex, where Thomas died on 11th November 1926, aged 61yrs.

Researcher: Maggi Martin

The Grave

No headstone image available

Location in Cemetery

Area: NWS Row: 6 Plot: 5

Exact Location (what3words): proud.oval.moves

Ashes or Urn: Unknown



No description of the headstone has been added.


In loving memory of my dear husband Thomas Watts who passed away 11th Nov 1926 aged 61 years Also of Fanny his beloved wife who passed away 11th March 1950 in her 84th year "Reunited"

Further Information


Name: Thomas Watts

Gender: Male

Born: 12/06/1865

Town: Unknown

County: Somerset

Country: England


Maiden Name: Not applicable

Marriage Date: 11/09/1890

Spouse First Name: Fanny

Spouse Last Name: Tuckfield

Town of Marriage: Unknown

County of Marriage: Somerset

Country of Marriage: England

Information at Death

Date of Death: 11/11/1926

Cause of death: Unknown

Address line 2: 87

Address line 3: Rowlands Road

Town: Worthing

County: Sussex

Country: England


No obituary has been entered.

Personal Effects

Money left to others: No value recorded

Current value of effects: Not calculated

Census Information


Living at Smithyard, St. Decumans, Somerset. John Watts, Hd. 34yrs, Under Gamekeeper, wife, Ann, 30yrs, 4 children, Selina, 7yrs, Thomas, 5yrs, Fanny, 3yrs, William, 1yr, mother, Sarah, widow, 71yrs.


Living at 5, Coastguard Buildings, Selsey, Sussex. Thomas Watts, Hd. 35yrs, Coastguard, wife, Fanny, 34yrs, 2 daughters, Edith, 9yrs, Daisy Anne, 7yrs.


Living at 81, Foundry Lane, Freemantle, Southampton. Thomas Watts, Hd. 45yrs, Petty Officer H.M. Coastguard, wife, Fanny, 44yrs, daughter, Daisy Anne, 17yrs, Assistant Dressmaker.


Living at 87, Rowlands Road, Worthing, Sussex. Thomas Watts, Hd. 56yrs, Retired Chief Officer, H.M. Coastguard, wife, Fanny, 54yrs.

Miscellaneous Information

The Development of the Coastguard Service: *

The Coastguard Service was originally the result of a reorganisation of other existing services aimed at countering the immense smuggling activity that prevailed during the first quarter of the 19th century. It has subsequently undergone many further reorganisations and is now responsible for ship and coastline safety.

Smuggling in Britain has existed for many centuries. Whenever a tax or duty was placed on the export or import of materials or goods there have been individuals who have tried to exploit the opportunity of trade by illegally importing or exporting those goods. The export of tin from Cornwall, iron from Sussex and wool from many parts of Britain all gave rise to smuggling activity. The taxes placed on imports of luxury items (silk, tea, coffee, brandy and gin) also led to illegal imports of such magnitude that it has been estimated that by the middle of the 18th century 50% of the spirits consumed in Britain was smuggled.

In 1856, at the end of the Crimean War, control of the Coastguard Service was transferred to the Admiralty. By this time smuggling was on the wane and the lifesaving role and Naval Reserve aspects were more significant.

Coastguards served on ships and on shore. Men on shore were moved away from their home location for fear of collusion. Coastguard Stations were equipped with living quarters for married men as well as single quarters. Each station was commanded by a Chief Officer (normally a Royal Navy lieutenant). Beneath him were Chief Boatman, Commissioned Boatman and Boatman ranks.

Many men entered the service from the Royal Navy.