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Person Details
07 Feb 1892
William was born in Nottingham and the only reference to his link with the city apart from this information from his Naval record is an entry on the 1901 Census when he was living on Beresford Street, Old Radford. William was living in the household of Fanny Darby (44, b. Carlton) and her sister Elizabeth Darby (42, b. Carlton). Both women were unmarried and working from home as machinists (shirts and aprons). William Fox (9) was described as 'adopted' and there were two other children in the home who were also adopted, George Fox (12), perhaps William's brother, and Jessie Baldock (9). All three children were born in Nottingham; George probably b. 1889 (J/A/S Nottingham), William b. 7 February 1892 (RN record) and Jessie Baldcock probably b. 1890 (O/N/D Nottingham). Neither William nor George have been traced on the 1911 Census, but a Jessie Baldock (20), lace machinist, was living at 10 Chandos Street, Nottingham, as a lodger in the household of an Edward Dean. William was a seaman before he joined the Royal Navy in 1914. It is likely that he had no contact with his birth family as he gave the name of a friend, Isaac Simpson, as next of kin when he joined the Royal Navy. William's RN record gives Isaac's address as 3 Mill Lane, Bridge Street, Brigg, Lincolnshire. Isaac was the son of Joseph C. and Rhoda Simpson; his father was owner and master of a barge on the River Trent although there was a family home ashore (1891: 12 West Terrace, Scawby, Brigg). At the time of the 1901 Census Isaac (21) was recorded as the owner and Master of the 'Joseph C Rhoda' which at the time of the census was on the River Trent at Glanford Brigg in the parish of Alkborough St John the Baptist. Isaac employed a Mate, a 15 year old boy. It is possible, therefore, that before he joined the Royal Navy William worked for either Isaac or one of the other barge owners on the River Trent working out of Brigg. Isaac Simpson probably died in 1939 (Mar Scunthorpe) aged 59.
He was a seaman before joining the Royal Navy in October 1914 - his Naval record was annotated, 'No. 9 NP/RN19727. Cannot count merchant service'.
03 Apr 1917
3040960 - CWGC Website
K23171 (Po)
Stoker 1st Class
Royal Navy
Served in HMS Jason. William joined the Royal Navy on 9 October 1914 on a 12 year engagement. He served in the following ships and shore establishments: Victory II, 9 October 1914-1 April 1915 (Stoker 2nd Class); HMS Columbine, 2 April 1915-18 November 1915; 14 days (-); Victory II, 2 December 1915-12 March 1916; HMS Assistance, 13 March 1916-1 November 1916 (Stoker 1st Class, 6 July 1916); HMS Jason, 2 November 1916-3 April 1917. His RN record was annotated, 'NP.2418/17. DD [discharged dead] 3rd April 1917. Lost his life when HMS Jason was sunk. ' His body was not recovered for burial and he is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. HMS Jason was an Alarm Class torpedo boat. Constructed 1891-93, she was converted to a mine sweeper 1908-09 and continued in this role during the Great War. She was sunk at 11am off the island of Coll (56 35N, 6 28W) by a mine laid by German submarine U78 on 11/2/1917. 73 officers and men were saved, 25 lost.
War Memorial Archive ref: WM 44641. Location: Oban Strathclyde Scotland Description: Lifebelt from HMS Jason with photograph of the ship sinking. Inscription on plaque: 'HMS Jason lost at 11.10am on 3 April 1917 off the island of Coll. Latitude 56 58, Longitude 6 25W through strking a mine laid by the German submarine U78 on 11 Feb 1917. The crew of HMS Jason at the time of her loss was 98: 73 officers and men were saved, 25 lost.'
Remembered on