William 'Bill' Snowball came to Chelmsford from the north-east. He worked at the Hoffmann bearings' factory and was a trombone player with the Salvation Army. He married in 1936 and had a daughter the following year. In the early part of the war he joined the Royal Marines and was killed when H.M.S. Charybdis was sunk off the Britanny coast. His home was in Moulsham Drive.
William SNOWBALL, Musician, Royal Marine Band, H.M.S. Charybdis
Killed when his ship was torpedoed and sunk in the English Channel. Aged 31
Bill was born in County Durham in 1913, the only son of Richard Bulmer Gordon Snowball (1878-1963) and Isabella Snowball (nee Jolly) (1878-1965). His parents had married in County Durham in 1905. Bill had at least three siblings; Alice Christina Snowball (born in 1907), Margaret Snowball (born in 1909), and Olive Snowball (born in 1915).
He joined the Salvation Army and on 1st August 1936 Bill married Dorothy Georgina White at the Salvation Army Citadel in Chelmsford. The ceremony was conducted by Major George Riley. She was the eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. White of 8 Rainsford Lane in Chelmsford and had worked as a clerk with the Essex Chronicle for more than seven years. Bill's best man was his brother-in-law Mr. W. T. Fuller. The bride's mother gave a reception at the County Hotel after which the couple left for their honeymoon in the North of England.
The couple had a daughter, born the following year.
Prior to the Second World War Bill worked at Hoffmann's ball-bearings factory in Chelmsford. In the early part of the war he joined the Royal Marines as a bandsman (service number RMB/X 1461) having been an expert trombone player with Chelmsford's Salvation Army Band.
He lost his life on 23rd October 1943 when his ship, the 485 feet long cruiser H.M.S. Charybdis, was sunk in the English Channel off the Brittany coast by torpedoes from German torpedo boats T23 and T27. 461 other crew members perished. The Charybdis has been tasked with intercepting a German convoy. Bill was 31 years old.
At the time of his death Bill's wife was living at ‘Jesmond Vale’ (today’s number 121) in Moulsham Drive, Chelmsford, their home since at least 1940. Meanwhile his parents were resident at Hebburn-on-Tyne.
On 22nd October 1944 Major William Daniels conducted a memorial service for Bill at Chelmsford's Salvation Army's Citadel. His last letter received from him was read by Major Simmons, and greatly impressed the large congregation.
Bill is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. The wreck of H.M.S. Charybdis was discovered in 1993 in 270 feet of water. His wife died in 1999.