A MAIDENHEAD HERO
Killed in the Zeebrugge Triumph
Public Honours for Stoker A. F. Ada
Great victories are not bought without a price, and Maidenhead has paid
its tragic toll for the thrilling Nelson-like triumph at Zeebrugge.
Mingled with last week's joy were the tears of bereavement at losing in
that memorable enterprise one of our best-known and best-loved younger
tradesmen - a man who belonged to a family that has for three
generations been respected for their zeal in the religious, social and
commercial life of the town. Mr Arthur Fletcher Ada, content to serve as
a humble stoker in the Navy when he saw the beacon-call of duty,has laid
down his life at the young age of 35, finding glory in the commonplace
and forfeiting by the cruel irony of fate, perhaps by months only, the
grand climacteris of domestic joy which most men reach. The public
honours done our latest local hero were commensurate with his personal
worth as with his unshrinking patriotism. He surely died doubly nobly;
for it was when his watch below was done he went aloft to do merciful
work in tending wounded mates, and while at that task he was struck by a
shell and died very soon after.
Arthur Fletcher Ada was the third son of the late Mr John Ada, of the
firm of Ada & Co., drapers, Queen-street, established many years ago. He
was educated at Maidenhead Modern School. As a young man he succeeded to
the business and worked at it in conjunction with his brother-in-law (Mr
Leach) as partner. His prowess as a swimmer was well known all around
this district, for he carried off many prizes in the swimming carnivals
in the old days. In religious circles he was prominent as financial
secretary to the Baptist Church in Marlow Road, and further as the
organist there for about 12 years. In recent times he took a big share
in forming the V.T.C., of which he became an active member.
He joined H.M. Navy in September 1916, and proceeded to his training at
Chatham and other naval stations. He became attached to H.M.S. Phoebe as
stoker. When he was home last, only a fortnight ago last Monday, he was
aware of some great naval move being imminent, but his friends little
thought they had seen him for the last time. The Destroyer on which he
was serving was covering the "Vindictive", and towards the end of the
engagement he had just left his watch below and had gone on deck to help
in rescuing the survivors of one other of our Destroyers which had gone
down. It was early on the morning of St. George's Day, April 23rd, when
our brave fellow townsman was doing this extra duty at rescuing that he
was struck by an enemy shell and expired almost immediately.
Petty-Officer Attridge was sent to apprise the family of the details of
Mr Ada's death, and he also brought with him the verbal sympathy of the
captain, officers and mess of the Destroyer, as well as three wreaths to
be placed over the remains, Mrs. Ada having desired that the body might
be sent home for burial.
The sympathy with deceased relatives and his betrothed, Miss Jessie
Bloomfield, is very deep and widespread, and was given expression to at
the funeral on Monday, and by shoals of lettes received.
MEMORIAL SERVICE at the BAPTIST CHURCH