Douglas Deacon is understood to have originated from the local area and his mother lived at 93 Wesley Terrace, Cheadle Hulme.
He had joined the Marines as a young man but had completed his contracted time some years before the War. Returning to civilian life, he had been employed at the Westinghouse Works and, more recently, for the Post Office at Talylafn, North Wales.
Douglas was still a Marine reservist and, with War imminent, he was recalled to the colours. HMS Good Hope was an armoured cruiser built in 1901 but was quickly becoming obsolete. She was transferred to the Reserve Fleet in 1913 but with War imminent, a crew was hurriedly put together of cadets and reservists like Douglas. She sailed from Portsmouth on 2 August, two days before the official declaration of War and was attached to a cruiser squadron patrolling the South Atlantic around the Falkland Islands.
A German cruiser squadron was also patrolling in the area. All five ships were modern and better equipped by the British and the commander of the British squadron, Admiral Cradock, had hoped for reinforcements before trying to engage the enemy. The forthcoming engagement would become known as the Battle of Coronel, after the Chilean city to the east.
On 31 October, a radio signal was intercepted which gave the approximate location of one of the German ships. Cradock ordered his whole squadron north in an attempt to cut it off and destroy it. Instead, he found himself confronting the entire German squadron during the following afternoon.
The German ships had the greater range and the third salvo fired by the Scharnhorst at about 7pm crippled the Good Hope. Further salvoes were fired and the ship finally sank at 7.57 with the loss of all hands. Another ship, Monmouth, was sunk a few minutes later. The other two British ships managed to escape. It was Britain’s first naval defeat since 1810.
Amongst the Good Hope’s 900 dead were Douglas and two other local men, Sidney Hulme and John Dudley.