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Person Details
09 Jan 1891
Wellingborough, Northamptonshire
He was the son of Walter and Mary Elizabeth Simons who at the time of George's death lived at 54 Wilford Crescent West, Meadows. Walter was a railway engine fireman. In 1891 the family lived at 92 Cremorne Street, Meadows; there were two children, Thomas C (1) and George Shirley (2 months). By 1901 they were living at 54 Wilford Crescent and now had 5 children; Thomas (11), George (10), Ethel L. (8), Evelyn N (2), and an unnamed son (later named Walter) who was under one month old. There was also a sick nurse (monthly), Fanny S Walton, in the household. By 1911 George was serving in the Royal Navy while his family still lived on Wilford Crescent. His parents had been married for 22 years and had had 8 children all of whom survived and five were recorded in the household: Ethel Louie (18), Ada Elizabeth (14), Evelyn Nellie (12), Walter Perkins (10) and Sarah Frances (6).
He was a clerk when he joined the Royal Navy in August 1908.
02 Aug 1918
3046705 - CWGC Website
J/2429 (Dev)
Petty Officer
Royal Navy
George joined the Royal Navy on 19 August 1908 as a Boy 2nd Class and on his 18th birthday on 9 January 1909 signed on a 12 year engagement. Ships and shore establishments: Ganges II, 19 August 1908-14 December 1908 (Boy 2nd Class, Boy 1st Class 19 November 1908); HMS Agamemnon, 15 December 1908-21 April 1909 (Ordinary Seaman, 19 February 1909); HMS Vivid, 22 April 1908-3 May 1909; HMS Talbot 4 May 1909-15 December 1910 (Able Seaman, 1 April 1910); Vivid, 16 December 1910-13 December 1911; (-), 14 December 1911-5 March 1914; Vivid I, 6 March 1914-14 May 1914 (Leading Seaman1 May 1914); HMS Diana, 15 May 1914-29 July 1914; HMS Charybidis, 30 July 1914-22 January 1915; Vivid, 23 January 1915-17 February 1915; HMS Iron Duke, 18 February 1915-26 November 1915; Vivid I, 27 November 1915-16 February 1916; Vivid II, 17 February 1916-16 November 1916; HMS Egmont 17 November 1916-19 March 1917; Vivid I, 20 March 1917-14 October 1917; Woolwich, 15 October 1917-31 May 1918 (Petty Officer, 1 March 1918); HMS Wellington, 1 June 1918-30 June 1918; HMS Leander, 1 July 1918-2 August 1918. At the time of the 1911 (Military) Census he was serving as an Able Seaman at Royal Naval Barracks, Keyham, Devonport. He was serving onboard HMS Vehement (20th Destroyer Flotilla) when she sank in the North Sea on 2 August 1918 after striking a mine while undertaking mine laying operations in the Heligoland Bight. George's body was not recovered for burial and he is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial HMS Vehement struck a mine, resulting in an explosion which caused her forward ammunition magazine to detonate and the entire forward section of the ship was blown off. After the fires had been put out Vehement was taken in tow but her stem rose in the air making towing impossible. The surviving crew took measures to scuttle her and then abandoned ship; 48 of a ship's company of 588 lost their lives.
Nottingham Post obituary (abridged), 13 August 1918: 'SIMONS drowned at sea as a result of enemy action August 2nd 1918, Petty Officer George Shirley Simons, age 27. Mother, father, brothers, sisters.' In memoriam published 2nd August 1919 in the Nottingham Evening Post :- “SIMONS. – In loving memory of our dear son and brother George Shirley Simons, Petty Officer, lost on H.M.S. Vehement, August 2nd, 1918. Memories keep our loved one near us. – From loving mother, father, sisters, and brothers. “SIMONS. – In loving memory of Petty Officer George Shirley Simons, killed at sea August 2nd, 1918. Ever in our thoughts. – Tom and Stella.” Register of Seamen’s Services noted ‘DD [Discharged Dead]. Killed 2 August 1918 HMS Vehement.’ Another Nottingham sailor, Armourer Crew Ernest Peet, M.19330(Dev), of Edwin Street, St Ann's, was also lost in HMS Vehement.
Remembered on