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From papers now deposited at Rushden Museum, 2011
Samuel Percy Head.
A.B. P/SSX24815

Samuel Percy Head was born in 1916, son of Henry and Sarah Elizabeth (nee Foulds) who had married in 1904. Samuel had been working at Tecnic Shoe Co Ltd, as a side laster, until he joined the Navy in 1938, and was made Able Seaman in July 1939. He was serving on HMS Royal Oak when it was sunk, and survived.

He had met Freda Brown, and they were married in 1941, at St Peter's Church. They lived with Freda's father 'Will' Brown, at 12 Purvis Road.

HMS Royal Oak
H M S Royal Oak
The Navy "sweetheart" broach that
Samuel gave to Freda
Samuel Percy Head
Samuel Percy Head when he was posted to Alresford

Petty Officer Head
Petty Officer Head
The list of ships on which he served, during the war, being discharged in February 1946.



01 Mar 1938

05 Oct 1938

Dock Yard, Alresford


06 Oct 1938

31 May 1939



01 Jun 1939

06 Jun 1939

Royal Oak


07 Jun 1939

30 Jul 1939

Royal Oak


31 Jul 1939

14 Oct 1939



15 Oct 1939

10 Nov 1939



11 Nov 1939

10 Feb 1940



11 Feb 1940

30 Nov 1940



11 Dec 1940

06 Apr 1941



07 Apr 1941

08 Jun 1941



09 Jun 1941

15 Aug 1941



16 Aug 1941

20 Oct 1941



21 Oct 1941

06 Feb 1942



07 Feb 1942

06 Apr 1942



07 Apr 1942

08 Nov 1942



09 Nov 1942

14 Jul 1943



21 Nov 1942




15 Jul 1943

06 Aug 1943



09 Nov 1943

11 Nov 1943



12 Nov 1943




20 Sep 1945

19 Sep 1945

Released in Class “A”



04 Feb 1946

The medals
Letter List of medals
The accompanying letter sent with Sam's medals, after his death.

Whilst Samuel was riding his bicycle at Catworth on 12th May 1946, he was knocked down by a bus, and died from his injuries. An inquest was opened on 14th May 1946, and adjourned until 18th June. His wife was granted compensation from the Eastern National Bus Company, by the High Court, on 16th January 1947.

Rushden Echo and Argus, 17th May 1946, transcribed by Kay Collins

Killed in Sight of His Wife - Rushden Survivor of Naval Disaster
A Rushden man who survived the “Royal Oak” disaster during the war was killed in sight of his wife when cycling near Catworth on Sunday evening.

The victim of the fatality, which occurred on the Thrapston-Molesworth road shortly after eight o’clock, was Mr Samuel Percy Head, aged 30, of 12, Purvis-road, Rushden.

Mrs Head was riding behind her husband when he came into collision with an omnibus owned by the Eastern National Bus Co., and driven by Mr Reginald George Cade, of Great Stukeley, Huntingdonshire.

After the collision, Dr J W Ellis, of Kimbolton, and the Huntingdonshire ambulance responded to urgent messages, but Head had been killed instantly. Apparently his head had been in contact with the moving vehicle, and he had received a fracture of the base of the skull.

Inspector J R Mash, Sgt. Craighill and P.C. Douglas were on the scene, which was half a mile on the Thrapston side of the Catworth Fox, the well-known roadside inn.

Mr Head was an employee of the Tecnic Boot Co. and had served in the Royal Navy for eight years, becoming a Petty Officer. After the loss of the “Royal Oak” he served on the “Malaya” and “Sladen,” having much experience of convoy work between Ireland and Iceland. A native of Raunds, where his mother, three sisters and two brothers reside, he was a member of Rushden Windmill Club.

The funeral took place at Raunds on Thursday.

Inquest Opened
The inquest was opened on Thursday at the “Fox Inn,” Catworth, before the Hunts County Coroner (Mr L Abrahams).

Evidence of identification was given by the widow, Elsie Freda May Head. The widow said that her husband was employed in the lasting room of the Tecnic Boot Co., Rushden. His sight and hearing were perfect.

Dr J W Ellis, of Kimbolton, stated that he was called at 8.20 on Sunday evening and proceeded immediately to the scene of the accident, where he saw the body lying on the grass verge, covered with a rug, with the feet towards the ditch. There was profuse bleeding from the nose and head, and there was blood in the ears.

Artificial respiration was applied, but to no avail. Death, which was instantaneous, was due to a violent blow which not only lacerated the skull, but injured the brain within. There was nothing to show that the bus went over the body.

The inquest was adjourned to 2.30 on Tuesday, June 18th, at Huntingdon.

Mr A N Groome, of Parkers and Groom, solicitors, Rushden, represented the widow.

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