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Victorian Naval Forces Muster

for the Colony of Victoria. (muster range 1853-1910)*


Last Name:Cutler
First Name:John Henry William
Rank:Dispenser (SBA)
Birth Date: 10-07-1860
Branch:Victorian Navy

John Henry Cutler
aka John Henry William Walford-Cutler




A most pitiable case occurred quite recently. Cutler, the late sick berth attendant or dispenser, was taken seriously ill, with pithisis. Several officers and men had noticed him on his return from sick leave, and spoke to him advising him to lay up again, as he was more dead than alive. His reply was that he could not afford to go on half pay. A week afterwards he was dead, died of hemorrage, leaving a wife and two children destitute. It is generally considered in the force that the present Government is responsible for that man's death, and the destitute condition of his family. An appeal was made all round for funds to pay for a third class steerage passage home to England for this family. Government refused to subscribe, the men and officers in the force raised about £4 out of their scanty pay, and the affair is still in abeyance pending help from outside.

Williamstown Chronicle, 17 August 1895


JHW (Walford-) Cutler was born in England in 1860. John began training as a doctor, which he did not complete and in 1887 he married Annie Florence Baker in Warwickshire, England. At some stage soon after that they migrated to Australia. Because of his partial training in medicine John was a 'dispenser' aboard the Cerberus.

Also in the photo are the older two of their three children, Amy (b. 1887), my grandmother, and Lawrence (b. 1889). I am not sure of the date of this picture but there was another son, John (b. 1891). Judging from the ages of the children I would guess this picture was taken in either late 1890 or early 1891.

John Cutler & Family, circa 1890

Detail and photo supplied by Gary Scott. (great grand-son) 


Died: 10-7-1895

Victorian Navy Monument, Williamstown Cemetery
Erected by the Officers, Petty Officers and Men of the Permanent Naval Force of Victoria
In Memory of their Deceased Comrades

Large Monument surmounted by Large Anchor

courtesy of Helen Harris, OAM




The funeral of the late John William Cutler, who at the time of his death was a dispenser attached to the Victorian naval forces, was carried out with naval honours yesterday at Williamstown. The band of the Naval Brigade headed the cortege, which was composed of a great number of officers and men of the navy. The deceased suffered from consumption, and succumbed to an attack of hemorrhage.

The Argus, 13 July 1895



Parents - John Henry Cutler & Harriet

 Victorian Navy Muster courtesy of Geoffrey Bensley.


More details on this person can be found in the Victorian Navy Certificates of Service This is a very large pdf file of 109 mb and takes 13 minutes to download with a 1.5 mbps internet connection.

* 1853 is given as the commencement date for the Victorian Navy as this is the year that Commander Lockyer (RN) went to Britain to superintend the building of HMCS Victoria.
Although the Victorian Navy ended in 1901 the career of Cerbeus etc continued. In 1910 the new ships started arriving & manning levels increased.

Information & photographs of men who served in the Victorian Naval Forces is eagerly sought. Please contact the webmaster.