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Person Details
27 Nov 1890
Flock, Cornwall
The CWGC record provides the information that William George was the son of Ernest Nanson and Annie Borrow 'of Nottingham.' According to census records, Ernest Nanson Borrow was born in Middlesborough in 1869 (birth registered Stockton, Durham). He married Annie Davies (b. abt 1868) in 1889 (marriage registered J/F/M Middlesborough) and their son was born the following year. Although William's RN service record shows that he was born in Flock, Cornwall, on 27 November 1890 his birth was registered in Nottingham in 1891 (J/F/M). Apart from the CWGC reference to his parents living in Nottingham this is the only other reference found so far to link William with the city. Only Ernest Borrow has so far been traced on the 1891 Census; he was working as an oyster merchant's assistant in North Meols, Lancashire, and a boarder in a local household. He was 21 years old and described as married. William's mother, Annie, died at the age of 29 in 1897 (death registered A/M/J Middlesborough). At the time of the 1901 Census William ['Willie'] (10) was a boarder in the home of James and Margaret Wilson at 3 Mount Street, Middlesborough. Also in the household was another border, Charles Borrow (29, b. Middlesborough), a plater in a shipyard, who was presumably a relative of William's. William's father, Ernest (31) was probably working in London and living in a local household as a boarder at the time of the 1901 Census. Ernest Nanson married Adeliza Emma Hurrell in 1902 (O/N/D West Ham) and in 1911 was working as a riverside labourer and living at 51 Barlborough Street, Deptford (London) with his wife Adeliza (43) and their three children, Charles Ernest (6), Marjorie Grace (5) and Mavis Alice (3). Although some of Ernest's details on the census - age 44, born York - do not match information on earlier records it seems likely that the marriage and 1911 Census records do relate to William's father. William had joined the Royal Navy in 1907 and served continuously until his death in 1918. William's RN record shows that the relative notified of his death was his sister (not named) of 58 Bromar Road, Denmark Hill, London SE5. Given that the daughters of William's father's second marriage were only young children in 1911 it seems unlikely that one of his half-sisters would have been named as his next of kin which suggests that Ernest and Annie had at least one other child before her death in 1897.
He was an errand boy when he joined the Royal Navy in September 1906.
06 Jul 1918
382039 - CWGC Website
Petty Officer
Royal Navy
Royal Navy HM Submarine C25. George joined HMS Impregnable as a Boy 2nd Class on 5 September 1906 when he was 15 years old and joined the Royal Navy on a 12 year engagement on his eighteenth birthday (27 November 1908). He passed professionally for petty officer on 23 December 1915 and was promoted to petty officer 15 May 1917 (HMS Dolphin). He joined HMS Maidstone (C25) on 1 April 1918 and died of wounds received in action three months later (see 'extra information'). He was buried in Camberwell Old Cemetery, London.
Submarine C25. The submarine was on the surface at about noon on 6 July when the Commanding Officer called the Second Captain (Sub Lieutenant Ronald M Cobb) to come to the bridge to look at a flight of five sea-planes. As the sub lieutenant was on his way up the order was given to dive so he flooded all main ballast and went full ahead on the main motors. Bombs were dropped and several small holes appeared in the pressure hull and water started to come in. An order was given to surface and the ballast tanks were blown. At that point the boat had not actually started to dive from the earlier order. Sub Lieutenant Cobb then ordered ‘Surface Action Stations’. Small bombs and bullets were still being fired at Submarine C25 and, as a result, the Coxswain (Petty Officer William Borrow) was badly wounded and Able Seaman Sidney Hamilton was killed in the Conning Tower. The sub lieutenant went up the Conning Tower and found the Commanding Officer, Leading Seaman Barge, Signalman Arthur Buttle and the Lewis Gunner – Able Seaman John Walsh all killed. The Lewis gun was missing although three drums of Lewis gun ammunition had been fired. As the firing from the sea-planes was still going on the sub lieutenant came back below for about 15 minutes and started to repair damage. He then went back on the bridge with two engine room artificers but had to come below again as a further attack was starting. This attack continued for another 5 minutes and then, having waited a further 10 minutes he returned to the bridge. Cobb was in an unenviable position. Although the engine room artificer got the diesels running the steering gear was jammed both from the control room and the bridge steering positions. Both compasses were out of order and there was no sun to steer by and no land in sight. The radio was not working, the Aldis lamp was broken and the grenade rifle was damaged. Luckily at about 12.45 p.m. he sighted and identified himself to Submarine E51 (Lieutenant Commander Hugh R Marrack) by firing Very lights. The wounded Coxswain was transferred to Submarine E51, the commanding officer of Submarine E51 came on board to examine the damage, signals were made to the Depot Ship and a tow was established. Despite the efforts to get the Coxswain to proper medical attention he later died of his wounds. Further attacks by the sea-planes were made between 3.18 p.m. and 3.45 p.m. during which time Cobb and his crew remained below decks. Eventually the destroyer HMS Lurcher arrived to take over the tow and take Submarine C25 back to harbour.
Remembered on