Historian identifies missing sailor from Battle of Jutland


Wounded sailors on board HMS Castor following the Battle of Jutland

Researchers have identified a missing British sailor who lost his life in the Battle of Jutland in 1916.

Able seaman Harry Gasson from Hastings in Sussex served as an able seaman on board HMS Castor and was one of 10 members of the ship’s crew to be killed during the battle on 31 May 1916.

Crucial clue

The 32-year-old’s body was discovered on the Danish coast shortly afterwards. At the time he could not be identified and was buried at Esbjerg New Cemetery with a headstone inscribed, ‘A British Seaman of the Great War’.

Some 100 years later, Bob Cobley, the representative for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in Denmark, discovered a note in the burial records of Esbjerg’s Church of Zion that provided a crucial clue.

The documents recorded that the name ‘H Gossom’ was written in the lining of the unidentified sailor’s trousers. While that name delivered no matches among CWGC records, Cobley found Harry Gasson’s name on the list of missing sailors from the Battle of Jutland.


A photo showing damage inflicted on HMS Castor during the Battle of Jutland

Identity restored

‘I was very moved. I have come very close to the man, and now we have finally been able to identify him,’ said Cobley.

A new gravestone featuring Gasson’s name and rank will be put in place during a rededication ceremony to take place in Esbjerg on 31 May, the 100th anniversary of the sailor’s death.

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2 Responses to Historian identifies missing sailor from Battle of Jutland

  1. Shannon Gasson says:

    Harry Gasson Was My granddads (John Gasson ) Brother

    • maggie compton says:

      Hi Shannon,
      Harry was my 1×2 Cousin, was at the ceremony with my other cousin Barbara and her daughter,Michelle.

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