Cephas Goddard was born in Rugby in 1886. His parents were Cephas William Goddard and Ellen (nee Chapman) who married in 1869 in Kent. Cephas William had been born in Brighton, Sussex and might have been in the army. Around 1875 they had moved to Rugby where Cephas William was employed as a Teacher of Gymnastics, presumably at Rugby School. The family lived in Dunchurch Road, number 9 in 1881, 34 in 1891 and 18 in 1901. Cephus William and Ellen had a total of eleven children.
In 1908 Cephus Goddard joined the Royal Navy, he was aged 22 and working as a fitter and turner. He was 5ft 8in tall with dark brown hair and blue eyes. After several months training at Portsmouth he joined HMS Philomel as Engine Room Artificer 4th Class. Philomel was a cruiser serving with the East Indies Station, running patrols from Aden in the Persian Gulf. Cephas returned to Portsmouth and was perhaps discharged. In late 1912 he married Jessie Ford in Rugby.
On 1st January 1914 Cephas was serving on HMS Hecla, a torpedo boat carrier/depot ship. He was promoted to ERA second class in May 1915 and on 13th November 1915 he joined HMS Fortune. Fortune was an Acasta-class destroyer and had joined the 4th Destroyer Flotilla on the outbreak of war.
During the evening of 31st May 1916 the flotilla was screening the rear of the Grand Fleet in the Battle of Jutland. At 11.20 they encountered unknown ships. Believing them to be British the flotilla leader Tipperary flashed a challenge. Six opposing ships turned on their floodlights and opened up with their secondary armament. Most aimed for Tipperary which was soon ablaze. The destroyers began to return fire and launched a torpedo attack, which led to a collision among the Germans.
During this first attack, Fortune and Ardent were separated from the rest of the flotilla. They began to look for the German ships which had disengaged after battering their way though the 4th Flotilla. About 11:30pm they eventually found four large ships and engaged them. Both Ardent and Fortune were sunk in the ensuing firefight. The last anyone saw of Fortune was the ship afire but still firing as the destroyer was sinking.
Cephas Goddard, Engine Room Artificer 2nd Class, M/728 is remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial and the Lawrence Sheriff School Plaque.
RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM