Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: February 24, 2016.
Webpage updated: September 04, 2017

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ALPHONSO JAGO (1876-1928)

Alphonso Jago, occasionally referred to as Alphonsus Jago, was born in 1876 at Saint Just, in Cornwall, to Royal Navy Coast Guard Mr John Jago and his wife, Elizabeth Ann Jago.

After becoming an apprentice roper at Falmouth, he joined the Royal Navy at Devonport, where he married Miss Emily Crofts Hill, from Exeter, in 1902.

In 1911, when Alphonso was Chief Ships' Cook aboard HMS "Gloucester", his wife and their son, Harold Henry Jago, were living at 32 Craigmore Avenue, Stoke.  In that same year, on October 1st, he was promoted to Warrant Officer in Cookery and appointed to HMS "Vivid".  On February 1st 1918 he was promoted to Commissioned Instructor of Cookery.

Prior to his appointment the cooks of each mess used to prepare the food from provisions provided by the Purser or the canteen and the made-up dishes were then taken to the galley for cooking.  The galley at HMS "Vivid" lay between C and D Blocks (known from 1953 as Raleigh and Grenville Blocks).  The standard of the food depended entirely on the expertise of the individual whose turn it was to be cook.  It was also not served very hot because the cooks then had to carry the food to their mess, which may be up three flights of stairs.

Jago introduced the Dining Hall scheme, whereby trained cooks prepared and cooked the food and served it in dining halls not the messes.  The basements of Raleigh and Exmouth were turned into large dining halls and the galley was enlarged.  It took a long time to win the approval of higher authority but official approval was given in 1922 and it became known as General Messing.  His influence and long service in the Royal Naval Barracks resulted in the Barracks getting the nickname -- often used by bus conductors -- of "Jago's Mansions".

It is said that he also ran a restaurant off Fore Street at the same time.

Alphonso Jago died at the Royal Naval Hospital, East Stonehouse, on Wednesday June 27th 1928, at the age of 59 years, and was buried at Weston Mill Cemetery on Saturday June 30th 1928.  Flags throughout the Naval establishment were flown at half-mast.  The undertakers were Messrs W and G Westlake and the chief mourners were his widow and son.


Compiled with the assistance of the
Devon Family History Society.