Stephen John Dark
Stephen John Dark, known as John, was the youngest child of George Dark and Elizabeth Ann née Philp. He was born on 8 December 1898 in Newport, Monmouthshire. The family moved around a great deal as George sought various types of work, but in 1904 the six youngest children were admitted to the school in Frampton. John's brother, George Edward, was too old to attend. They settled in Fromebridge with George working as a chimney sweep. After leaving school John became a clothmill labourer.
On 2 February 1915, at the age of 16, he joined the Royal Navy at Devonport as a boy (essentially the equivalent of an apprenticeship for a trade) and underwent initial training at HMS Impregnable (the Devonport Barracks). He then joined the crew of HMS Calliope, a brand new light cruiser, where he spent his entire wartime service, progressing to the rank of able seaman. In March 1916 she was badly damaged by a fuel oil fire at sea, but was repaired in time to take part in the Battle of Jutland (31 May-1 June 1916), when she was hit by shells from the German battleships Kaiser and Markgraf which killed ten of her crew. On 8 December (John's 18th birthday) he signed for a 12-year engagement with the Navy. He finally left HMS Calliope on 1 January 1919 for an 18-month tour at Devonport, continuing his career until the mid-1930s. John was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal and his service is commemorated on the plaque in the village hall. In 1932 he received a Long Service gratuity while serving in HMS Resolution.
By the mid-1940s John, who never married, was living at Maycot, The Street. Stephen John Dark was buried on 1 June 1959 in St Mary's churchyard.