A Family History Collection



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Commander William Leonard Aris MBE. RN.


Commander William Aris RN was born on 25 August 1879 in Chatham, Kent, the son of John Aris, an Engineer in the Royal Navy and Harriet nee Nash. He was educated at Sheerness County School but ran away to sea, starting as a Second Class Boy. He served on the Mediterranean Station, on the last sailing ship to serve in the Royal Navy.

He married Ada Mary Southern in 1904 in Sheppey.

Their first son, William was born in Sheerness in 1904 and the family were resident in Gillingham, Kent from about 1909.

His second son, Douglas James Aris was born in 1917 and died in 1983.

Douglas married Ethel Marsh in 1942 in Chatham.

Their third son, Albert, was born in 1922.

Commander Aris' first Gillingham address was 73 Park Ave. They moved to Pier House, Pier Approach, Gillingham when the Commander became Pier Master in about 1930.

In 1937 he was representative of the Maintenanance Commander of The Nore and was still living in Pier House.

In 1937 he became Conservative Councillor for the Brompton West Ward which position he held until October 1948 when he finally retired from Public Life and moved to 98 Darland Ave, Gillingham.

During World War 1 he served on HMS Hecla starting as a Boatswain in China, the Red Sea and the North Sea and was awarded the MBE for efficient working of mined nets.

He was awarded 1914-15 Star, the British and Victory War medals.

In 1939 he rejoined the Service, having left as a Lieutenant and served 7 years in Northern Ireland, Clyde and Tyne and received written commendation from his Commander-In-Chief. He retired as a Commander in 1946.

He died in on Christmas night 1950, aged 71 years, having served 51 years in the Admiralty.