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Person Details
01 Mar 1891
Stapleford Nottinghamshire
Edward was the son of John and Susannah Simpson. John Simpson was born in Belcham St Paul, Essex, and Susannah in Stapleford. In 1881 John (23), a moulder, and Susannah (23) were living in Eaton's Lane, Stapleford, as boarders in the household of a widow, Elizabeth Dyer, a dressmaker. Also in the home was a one-month child, Alice, who was described as Elizabeth's granddaughter; it is possible that she was John and Susannah's daughter. John and Susannah were still living in Stapleford in 1891 but had moved to South Terrace. Also in the home were their five children, Alice (10), Florence (7), Martha (5), John (2) and Edward (1 month). All the children were born in Stapleford. The family has not yet been traced on the 1901 or 1911 Census although Edward who had joined the Royal Navy in December 1910, was serving as a Stoker and in RN Barracks, Edinburgh Road, Portsmouth, in 1911. Edward's mother was named on his service record as the relative notified of his death; she was then living at 37 Upper Eldon Street, Sneinton Road, Nottingham. An 'In Memoriam' notice published in 1916, inserted by his mother and siblings, does not mention Edward's father, suggesting that he had died. Edward married Florence Robinson (b. 3 March 1891) on 13 April 1914 (A/M/J Nottingham) and they had a son, John Edward Simpson (b. 9 September 1914). The notice of Edward's death placed by his widow gives her address as 27 Sussex Square, Harrington Street, Nottingham.
He was a carter when he joined the Royal Navy in December 1910.
01 Nov 1914
2872056 - CWGC Website
Stoker 1st Class
HMS Good Hope Royal Navy
Edward joined the Royal Navy on 7 December 1910 on a 12 year engagement. He served in the following ships and shore establishments: Victory, 7 December 1910-13 January 1911 (Stoker 2nd Class); HMS Renown, 15 January 1911-4March 1911; Victory II, 5 March 1911-25 April 1911; HMS Roxburgh, 26 April 1911-5 December 1911; HMS Hampshire, 6 December 1911-18 January 1914 (Stoker 1st Class 22 March 1912); HMS Europa, 19 January 1914-31 July 1914; HMS Good Hope, 1 August 1914-1 November 1914. His service record was annotated, ‘DD [Discharged Dead] 1 Nov 1914. Lost when HMS Good Hope was sunk in action off Chilian Coast.' Edward was lost with HMS Good Hope at the Battle of Coronel. His body was not recovered for burial and he is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial (panel ref. 4). HMS Good Hope was a Drake Class armoured cruiser built in 1901. By 1914 she was the flagship of Rear Admiral Sir Christopher George Cradock, 4th Cruiser Squadron, which included HMS Good Hope, Monmouth, Glasgow and the armed merchant cruiser Otranto. The squadron intercepted Vice Admiral von Spee’s squadron which included Scharnhorst and Gneisenau forty five miles off the Chilean port of Coronel. None of the ships in Cradock's squadron posed a threat to von Spee’s modern ships, which had greater fire-power than those of the British Squadron, and Good Hope and Monmouth’s ship’s companies mainly comprised reservists whereas von Spee’s crews were well trained and experienced. The sun set at 18:50 on November 1st 1914, which silhouetted the British ships against the light sky while the German ships became indistinguishable from the shoreline behind them. Spee immediately turned to close and signalled his ships to open fire at 19:04 when the range closed to 12,300 yards. Spee's flagship, Scharnhorst, engaged Good Hope while Gneisenau attacked HMS Monmouth. HMS Good Hope was hit by Scharnhorst's third salvo, and the shells knocked out her forward 9.2-inch turret and set her forecastle on fire. Cradock, knowing his only chance was to close the range, continued to do so despite the battering that Spee's ships inflicted. By 19:23 the range was almost half of that when the battle began and the British ships bore onwards. Spee tried to open the range, fearing a torpedo attack, but the British were only 5,500 yards away at 19:35. Seven minutes later Good Hope sailed toward the German ships, which successfully manoeuvred; Spee ordered his armoured cruisers to concentrate fire on the British flagship which had drifted to a halt with her topsides ablaze. At 19:50 her forward magazine exploded severing the bow and she later sank in the darkness. Von Spee estimated that his flagship had made 35 hits on Good Hope, suffering only two hits in return that did no significant damage and failed to injure any of his crew. Good Hope was lost with all hands, a total of 919 officers and men. The captain of Cradock’s flagship, HMS Good Hope, was Captain Philip Francklin, who was a career officer and came from Gonalston Nottinghamshire (Gonalston memorial). A postscript is that von Spee’s squadron was destroyed, and he and his two sons killed, when the Royal Navy under Admiral Sturdee exacted retribution six weeks later at the Battle of the Falkland Islands on 8 December 1914.
Nottingham Evening Post, ‘Deaths’, 23 November 1914: 'Simpson. On November 1st, with HMS Good Hope, Stoker Edward Simpson, of 27, Sussex-square, Harrington-street, the beloved husband of Florence Simpson, aged 23 years.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) In memoriam published 1st November 1916 in the Nottingham Evening Post :- “SIMPSON. – In loving memory of my dear son Edward, who lost his life on the H.M.S. Good Hope, November 1st, 1914, of Upper Eldon-street. If your eyes were open what a change you would see, but God has willed it not to be. – From his sorrowing mother, sisters, and brothers and brothers-in-law with the colours.” Above is courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
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