Midshipman John Adrian Gerard Kanaar

Date of Birth 28 December 1896
Age at Death 18
Date of Death 5 June 1916
Service Number
Military Service Royal Navy HMS Hampshire
Merton Address 25 Dorset Road, Merton Park
Local Memorial Raynes Park Methodist Church

Additional Information

John Kanaar was born in Islington on 28 December 1896 to a Dutch Produce Merchant, Gerard John Kumar and an English girl, Stella Annie Cox from Somerset.
He attended a private Prep School before moving on to Rutlish between May 1907 and July 1910. He completed his education at Tiffins in Kingston. He was involved in the Scout Movement and the YMCA as well as being an excellent swimmer.

By the time of the 1911 census the family were living at 25 Dorset Road, Merton Park. John had two brothers; William Theodore who was born in 1891 and by the time of the census was working as a Motor Car Agent and Cyril Cornelius who was a sixteen year old junior clerk. There were also three sisters. The youngest, Evelyn was still at school but 17 year old Muriel and 19 year old Stella Margaret do not appear to have jobs outside the home in 1911.

John was apprenticed in the Mercantile Marine when he was 15 and joined the Royal Navy when war broke out. His first posting in November 1914 was to HMS Hampshire. He remained on HMS Hampshire and his posting is confirmed in the records for 13 March 1915.

On 5 June 1916, HMS Hampshire left Scapa Flow in the Orkneys at 4.40pm and turned west into a storm. The weather was such that her two escort destroyers were unable to keep up with her and they turned back. By 7.40pm she was only one and a half miles from shore between Marwick Head and Brough of Birsay. On board was Lord Kitchener who was headed for Russia to meet with the Czar and his generals in St Petersburg. HMS Hampshire struck a mine and sank immediately with only a handful of survivors making it ashore. One of those who didn’t was John Kanaar.

The wreck is designated a controlled site and diving is forbidden.

John’s parents moved to Chiswick but he is remembered on the war memorial in Raynes Park Methodist Church.


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