Leigh Griffiths (1897–1960)

Steward, OS3

Royal Navy


HMS Victory

Photos courtesy Louise Kew-Moss

Leigh Griffiths

In some records his name is recorded as Griffith, but in the 1911 census his father recorded it as Griffiths. Leigh was born on 16th May 1897 at Derby, the son of Thomas and Louisa Amy Griffiths. He joined the Royal Navy in October 1915 aged eighteen, a railway clerk living on the Common, Crich. All his postings appear to have been shore-based on HMS Victory. He was discharged in 1916 due to valvular disease of the heart; recorded as having “a very good character”. Leigh married Edith Mary Shaw at Matlock Bath in February 1919. He left the railway service during the 1920s and lived in Leicestershire and the southwest. For a time he managed a granite quarry in the Ffestiniog area of Wales. He retired to Duffield.

A newspaper report of his father's death in 1923 shows that the family once lived on Crich Common.

Leigh Griffiths and wife

Leigh with his wife, Edith Mary

Newspaper Reports

Derbyshire Courier, 8 February 1919
On Wednesday, the wedding took place at Matlock Bath Parish Church of Mr Lee Griffiths and Miss Edith Mary Shaw. The bride is the eldest daughter of Mr G.W. Shaw, of Matlock, and the bridegroom is on the staff of the Mildland Railway Co., at Matlock Bath Station. Miss Shaw who was given away by her sister, Miss Doris Shaw, wore a brown coat and skirt, and a cream hat. A reception was held at Bates' Restaurant, and the newly-wedded pair afterwards left for Bournemouth for the honeymoon.

Derbyshire Times, 24 November 1923
We regret to hear of the death, at the age of 53, of a former resident of South View, Crich Common, in the person of Mr Thomas Griffiths, who died at his home at Matlock on Tuesday last week, after an illness of three months. The deceased was on the clerical staff of the engineering department, L.M. & S. railway, Derby and leaves a widow and one son.

Naval Record
Leigh's engagement began 14 October 1915. His date of birth was 16 May 1897 at Derby. He was a clerk, height 5ft 8¾in, hazel eyes, dark brown hair with a mole in the centre of his back and a scar on the back of his left index finger, also a scar on the front of his right index finger.
Victory I 14/10/15 to 14/12/15
Victory II (Arun) 15/12/12 to 02/02/16
Harlow (?2) discharged 03/02/16

Nature of Disability: valvular disease of heart.
Very good character; K.C. (No. 3307) issued 19/02/19

Medal Index Record
Awarded the 15 Star, Victory and British War medals

Note: Victory I = Portsmouth, Victory II = Crystal Palace; HMS Victory was, and remains, the flagship of the Commander in Chief, Portsmouth and as such had and has a ceremonial detachment of officers and ratings, as well as a ‘crew’ for the day-to- day duties of such an important command.


1901: Normanton, Derby

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
Thomas Griffiths Head 31 Railway Clerk Brecon
Louisa Amy Griffiths wife 25   Derby
Leigh Griffiths son 3   Derby

RG13 piece 3206 folio 53 page 8

1911: Burton

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
Thos Griffiths Head 41 Railway Clerk Brecon
Louisa Amy Griffiths wife 36   Derby
Leigh Griffiths son 13 School Derby

RG14PN16824 RG78PN1042 RD365 SD4 ED37 SN16