4TH DESTROYER FLOTILLA
Royal Navy Grand Fleet
K5417 L. HOMER S.P.O
Louis Homer, born 10th May 1890 was a boiler rivetter prior to enlisting into the ranks of the Royal Navy. In the 1901 Census he resided at 19 King Street, Dudley, Staffordshire. He had two brothers, both of which worked in industrial professions, and two sisters, one of whom was a tailor. His father, Richard Homer was a Chain Maker and his mother Elizabeth listed no profession. By the next census in 1911, Louis Homer was living as a single man at 133 Corngreaves Road, Cradley Heath, Staffordshire as a lodger while employed as a stoker in the Royal Navy.
Initially serving as part of the crew aboard HMS Renown in 17th January 1910, Louis Homer had an extensive career in the Royal Navy spanning 17 years. He gained his rank of Senior Petty Officer within his first year of enlistment whilst aboard HMS Essex before moving through half a dozen other ships and shore establishments before joining the crew of HMS Contest.
HMS Contest is a relatively unknown ship. The 9th ship to bare the name, HMS Contest was an Acasta-class destroyer launched in 1913. One of twenty in the class, HMS Contest and her sister ships saw extensive service throughout the First World War with four of them lost at the Battle of Jutland - HMS Shark, HMS Ardent, HMS Fortune and HMS Sparrowhawk.
As part of the 4th Destroyer Flotilla, HMS Contest was in action alongside HMS Tipperary, HMS Spitfire, HMS Sparrowhawk and HMS Garland in the 1st Half Flotilla. In the evening HMS Contest, HMS Fortune and HMS Garland engaged targets, citing a report of two Torpedo Boat Destroyers (TBDs) and submarines, but this information is not readily verifiable. Similarly, amongst all the confusion there is a possibility that HMS Contest engaged a four-funnel German cruiser, but this could have been mistaken identity on the part of the Royal Navy.
HMS Contest was involved in the demise of a fellow Royal Navy ship, HMS Shark. After having already been rammed abreast the bridge by HMS Broke, HMS Contest collided with the aft section of the ship and removed her stern. Six lives were lost in the collisions and the crew transferred to HMS Marksman. An attempt was made to tow the stricken ship but towing the ship with such a large section missing proved difficult. Under orders of the Vice-Admiral HMS Sparrowhawk was sunk by gunfire.
In 1917, after Louis Homer had left the ship, HMS Contest was attacked and sunk by U106 off the coast of southwest England whilst performing convoy escort duties. In total thirty-five crew were lost.
Serving until 1927, Louis Homer was transferred between a further dozen Royal Navy ships and installations.
Louis Homer died on 16th March 1965 in Bilbrook, Birmingham.