|Above: William Talbot Perrett in civilian dress probably some time in the 1890s.
A & G Taylor - Photographer
1 Baldwin Street, Bristol, England
(Note: All of the photographs in this album group - aside from the above cabinet photograph - vary in size slightly but measure approximately 3 1/2 Inches by 4 1/2 Inches
(9cm x 11.3cm) and appear to be the work of Corporal Perrett himself.)
William Talbot Perrett was born at Seend, Wiltshire on 6 April 1875 to Samuel Perrett and Ann Burbidge. He attested while still underage with the Royal Marine Light Infantry at
Walmer on 6 September 1892. The available scan of his service sheet is badly pixelated and difficult to read in parts but portions of his postings and promotions can be reconstructed.
Initially posted to “C” Company at Walmer he was transferred to “D” Company at Plymouth on 20 April 1893. He would remain with “D” Company for most of his enlistment. He was
assigned to the following Royal Navy vessels as part of their marine detachments.
His first shipboard posting is unreadable but dated from 3 March 1897 – 1 July 1897
HMS Monarch (Ironclad Masted Turret Ship): 1 July 1897 – 12 May 1899
HMS Rainbow (Protected Cruiser): 11 July 1899 – 24 August 1899
HMS Monarch: 12 April 1900 – 11 November 1902
HMS Monarch: 21 January 1903 – July 31 1903
HMS Cambrian (2nd Class Cruiser): 1 August 1903 – 25 May 1904
HMS St. George (1st Class Cruiser): 26 May 1904 – 23 January 1905
HMS Devonshire (Armoured Cruiser): 17 June 1909 – 15 July 1909
HMS Doris (Protected Cruiser): 14 September 1909 – 6 December 1911
HMS Cornwall (Armoured Cruiser): 11 January 1912 – 13 January 1914
Perrett was stationed at Plymouth between all of his shipboard deployments. He was promoted only once, to corporal on 22 May 1899 and was granted the Long Service & Good Conduct
Medal on 6 September 1908. He saw no active wartime service prior to World War One.
Perrett moved to Canada after his discharge, arriving on 28 May 1914 and took up residence in Toronto where he found employment with the Auto Supply Co. as a chauffeur. I have
been unable to find anything indicating military service with Canada or Great Britain during the First World War. He married Emily Daisy Burbidge (also of Wiltshire and seemingly a
cousin) at Toronto on 26 May 1920. The couple appear to have had three children; Doreen, Garth and Harold. Perrett disappears from the record trail after his return to Canada. An
obscure notation made on his service sheet may indicate that he died in 1951.
The photographs exhibited below were probably taken some after March 1902 while Perrett was serving aboard the HMS Monarch. At that time the ship’s commanding officer - Captain
Robert Kyle McAlpine – had also been appointed Naval Officer Commanding, Ascension Island.
|Above: Georgetown, the administrative center of Ascension Island appears rather sparsely built in c.1902. The Royal Marine Barracks with its
distinctive arcade stands at upper right in the distance. The island had a permanent garrison of marines at the time of Perrett's visit though his
service papers give no indication that he was ever part of that garrison. Instead he appears to have remained part of the HMS Monarch's marine
complement during his stay on the island.
|Above: A closeup of the Royal Marine Barracks at Georgetown, Ascension Island. The rather imposing edifice was built in 1830 and housed the island's
garrison of Royal Marines until 1922 with the detachment was withdrawn. It still stands today as the most recognizable structure in Georgetown.
|Above: A group of Royal Marines take a break for a photograph while hiking though the cloud forest on Green Mountain near the island's center and
its highest point. In front of them is Dew Pond with its recognized waterlilies. The pond and its lilies are still there and lie within the boundary of
Green Mountain National Park and can be visited via the same trail these marines took by rare visitors to this remote British possession.
|Above: A cricket match seeming involving members of the Royal Marines on the parade grounds in front of the Royal Marine Barracks. Athletic
events such as this must have formed an important part of the otherwise limited entertainment opportunities offered on remote Ascension Island.
|Above: Monkey Rock Cemetery on Ascension Island. The first burial - that of a ten-month old child - took place here in 1856. The cemetery is well
|Above: A rookery of sooty terns with a visiting contingent of Royal Marines. These seabirds are somewhat emblematic of Ascension Island in much
the same way as the Albatross (gooney birds) are to Midway Atoll on the other side of the globe. Due to the predations of rats, a non-native species,
the birds are now endangered.
|Above: The desolate and desert-like volcanic terrain of much of Ascension Island is evident in this photo as are the goats that once ran wild on the
island. Introduced to the island by early Portuguese visitors as a self-sustaining food supply for visiting mariners.
|Above: The Residency Green Mountain on Ascension Island. Originally built as a sanatorium for fever-stricken mariners, the compound was later
converted into the residence of the island's administrator - the function of which it still serves today.
|Above: A group of Royal Marine Light Infantrymen - probably from the HMS Monarch - relax during an outing on Ascension Island. Many of these
men were long serving soldiers as evidenced by the number of good conduct stripes on some of their cuffs - the older marine seated second from left
|Above: A rather stern looking Royal Marine Light Infantryman - possibly from the HMS Monarch's marine
complement - relaxes on a wicker chair in shirt sleeves. Dress regulations appear to have been relaxed on the
island at the time William Perrett visited the island.