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Posted: 22.09.14

Christ College Remembers … Lieutenant P.A.G. Kell

PHILIP ARTHUR GRAHAM KELL was a pupil at Christ College between 1888 and 1890. Philip, like his two brothers, was in School House. He left at the age of 14 and we know very little about his time while at School.

Set on a career at sea, he qualified as a 2nd Mate at the age of 19. He spent the next few years on voyages across the Indian Ocean and later worked for the Uganda Railways Lake Marine Service. When war was declared in August 1914, P.A.G. Kell was one of thousands of experienced sailors who were mobilized. He joined HMS ‘Cressy’, which was one of three armoured cruisers assigned to stop German surface vessels entering the Eastern end of the English Channel. Early in the morning of 22nd September 1914 the three ships were torpedoed by a German U-boat. The attack was unexpected and the boats were completely unprepared. Though 837 men were rescued, over 1400 sailors and cadets, including Lieutenant Kell, were killed.

Lieutenant Commander Philip Arthur Graham Kell of the Royal Naval Reserve became the first Old Breconian to lose his life in the First World War. He is remembered at the Chatham Naval Memorial as well as on the War Memorial in the ante-chapel.

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