[Skip to content]

Person Details
09 Aug 1881
Wollaton Nottingham
George Henry was the son of Reuben and Elizabeth Towle. Reuben was born in Nottingham in 1862 (A/M/J Nottingham) and Elizabeth in about 1859. They were probably married in 1881 (J/F/M Basford) and had two sons, George Henry b. Wollaton 9 August 1881, bap. Beeston St John the Baptist 5 October 1881, and Reuben M. b. Beeston 25 December 1883. In 1891 Reuben (30), a bricklayer's labourer, and Elizabeth (32), a lace mender, were living at New Buildings, William Street, Beeston, Nottingham, with their sons George (9) and Reuben (7). Elizabeth died aged 42 in 1901 (J/F/M Basford) and on the 1901 Census the widowed Reuben (40), a bricklayer's labourer, was living on Humber Grove, Beeston. Both sons were still living at home; George (19) was also working as a bricklayer's labourer and Reuben (17) was a lace threader. In 1911 Reuben snr was living alone at 19 The City Beeston. He probably died in 1935 (J/F/M Nottingham) aged 72. Reuben jnr married Mary Eleanor Cooper (b.23 May 1888) in 1901 (O/N/D Basford). In 1939 they were living in Beeston, Reuben was a twisthand lace and his wife a lace mender. Also in the home were their two sons, Reuben (b. 1 December 1919) an unemployed labourer, and George (b. 7 February 1927) who was still at school. George joined the RMLI (Portsmouth Division) in July 1901 and in 1905 married Mary Elizabeth Pavier the daughter of John Charles and Sarah Ann Pavier. Mary Elizabeth (Elizabeth) was born on Portsea Island, Portsmouth, on 20 September 1885 and baptised at Portsea Holy Trinity Church on 8 October the same year. Her parents were then living at York Place, Portsea. George and his wife had at least six children of whom three were named on the 1911 census and two born subsequently: George Albert b. 12 March 1907 (A/M/J Portsmouth) bap. 4 June 1907 Portsea St George, Charles Ernest Frederick b. 5 March 1908 (A/M/J Portsmouth) bap.30 June 1908 Portsea St. George, Arthur William b. 1910 (O/N/D Portsmouth) bap. 31 August 1911 Portsea St. John, Harold Edward b. 3 September 1913 (O/N/D Portsmouth) bap. 12 October 1913 Portsea St. George d. 1914 (A/M/J Portsmouth), and Henry Victor Jellicoe b. 1915 (A/M/J Portsmouth) bap. 18 April 1915 Portsea St. George. All the boys were born in Portsmouth. At the time of their son George's baptism George and Mary were living at 1 Windy's (?) Court, Portsea, and at 28 North Street at the time of Charles' baptism. In 1910 at the time of Arthur's baptism they were living at 3 Mists Court, North Street, Portsea, Portsmouth, where they were still living when George's died in 1915. George's occupation was given on each baptism record as 'RMLI'. In 1911 George was serving at sea in HMS Pelorus while Elizabeth was in the family home at 3 Mists Court, with their three sons, George Albert (4), Charles Ernest (3) and Arthur William (5 months). A fourth child had died in infancy. Their son, Harold Edward, who was born two years later on 3 September 1913, died the following year before his first birthday. Their sixth child, Henry Victor Jellicoe, was born in 1915 after George's death. The baptismal record described George's occupation as 'labourer, reservist (deceased)'. Mary did not remarry but did have two more children: May PV Towle b. 14 February 1917 (A/M/J Portsmouth) and Walter [Walt] Herbert Towle b. 24 March 1919 (A/M/J Portsmouth) d. Portsmouth 1989. In 1939 at the time of the England & Wales Register, the widowed Mary was living at 16 Union Street, Portsmouth, with her daughter May, whose occupation was given as 'unpaid domestic duties', and her son Henry, a fitter's labourer. Mary was working as a public lavatory attendant. Also in the household was John Ryan (b. 12 January 1885) unmarried, and a coal porter. Mary Elizabeth died in June 1952 (A/M/J Portsmouth). Several of her children inserted 'In Memoriam' notices in the Portsmouth Evening News for some years after her death. Of George and Mary's four surviving children: George Albert married Violet Damon (b. 14 October 1909) in 1932 (A/M/J Portsmouth)., In 1939 they were living at 4 Lion Terrace, Portsmouth; George was a fitter's mate (engineering). George died in 1966 (O/N/D Portsmouth) aged 59. Charles Edward Frederick joined the Royal Navy on 23 November 1923 as a Boy 2nd Class and entered on a 12 year Continuous Service Engagement on 5 March 1926, his 18th birthday. He served until 20 March 1928 then after an apparent break in service rejoined on 5 March 1929 as a Devonport rating, serving in HMS Flinders from 31 March 1930 and then in various ships and shore establishments until 6 April 1938 when he was discharged shore 'CS expired' and transferred to the Royal Fleet Reserve on 7 April 1938 (Po.B19842). He was moblised on 6 February 1939 as an Able Seaman and then served continously until 26 October 1945 when, as a Leading Seaman (rated 7 June 1943), he was released Class 'A' rated. Charles married Elizabeth D Sneddon in 1939 (A/M/J Portsmouth). Arthur William married Lilian Dempster in 1931 (A/M/J Portsmouth) and they had one child, a son Charles Peter [Peter] b. 1931 (J/A/S Portsmouth). Arthur and Lilian were killed by a 'flying bomb' which hit Portsmouth the night of 14/15 July 1944; their son survived. The incident was reported in the Portsmouth Evening News, Saturday 15 July 1944: ‘Bombs in Night. Some Damage. During the night the enemy sent flying bombs over the Southern Counties causing damage and casualties. Last night was the fifth in succession in which no flying bombs reached the London area. One of the bombs over Southern England roared down near some houses. A few people were killed and a number taken to hospital. Rescue squads were rewarded by finding trapped people still alive ...Another boy named Charles Towle was (-) rescued suffering from injuries but his parents were found dead among the debris this morning.’ (see also 'extra information'). Henry Vincent Jellicoe married Sarah Jenny Boyce at St Peter's Church, Southsea, in March 1940 (J/F/M Portsmouth). A notice of his brother Arthur's death in 1944 indicated that Henry was serving in France at the time. Sarah divorced George in 1951 (Portsmouth Evening News, 12 January 1951, Winchester Divorce Court Petitions) and Henry married secondly Marie Louise Hedevin in 1951 (J/F/M Portsmouth).
In 1901 he was a bricklayer's labourer. He joined the RMLI on 16 July 1901.
13 Jan 1915
3034185 - CWGC Website
HMS Viknor Royal Marine Light Infantry
RMR B1310 (Po) George Henry joined the Royal Marine Light Infantry (Portsmouth Division) on 16 July 1901. In 1911 he was serving in HMS Pelorus, a third-class cruiser. It is possible that sometime after 1911 he was discharged from the RMLI on the completion of his engagement, transferred to the Royal Marine Reserve and was then mobilized on the outbreak of war. At the time of his death he was serving in HMS Viknor, which had a high proportion of reservists in its ship's company. HMS Viknor was an armed merchant cruiser formerly the passenger liner SS Atrato (Royal Steam Packet Co) later renamed Viking (1912), which was requisitioned on the outbreak of war, renamed and assigned to the 10th Cruiser Squadron. The Squadron patrolled the sea between the north of Scotland and Ireland. In early 1915 HMS Viknor was on patrol off the north-west coast of Ireland when on 13 January she disappeared in bad weather close to Tory Island off the coast of Donegal. No distress signal was sent and her crew of nearly 300 was lost; it was thought the ship might have struck a German mine.. The wreck was located by the Irish survey vessel Celtic Explorer in 2006 but the reason why the ship had sunk could not be ascertained. George's body was not recovered for burial and he is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. He qualified for the 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
The death of George's third surviving son, Arthur William, and his wife Lilian in July 1944 was recorded extensively in the family notices in the Portsmouth Evening News (www. britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk). Portsmouth Evening News, ‘Deaths’, 18 July 1944: ‘Towle. In loving memory of my dearest son Arthur, also his loving wife Lily. From his loving Mother, sister May also brothers Henry (France), Walt [Walter Herbert] (Italy). Swiftly and silently came the call, their sudden death surprised us all. Only those who have loved and lost know the meaning of gone.’ ‘Towle. In loving memory of my dearest brother Arthur and his wife Lily. They left a memory that will always be treasured. Words cannot express my thoughts. Your loving brother Charlie [Charles Ernest Frederick].’ ‘Towle. In loving memory of our dearest brother Arthur, also his loving wife Lily. From his loving brother George and sister-in-law Vi. [George Albert & Violet] We have lost, Heaven has gained, two of the best this world contained.’’ ‘Towle. In loving memory of my dearest Aunt Lil and Uncle Arthur. Two of the best. Never to be forgotten by their broken-hearted nephew, Ernie Cox.’ ‘Towle. In loving memory of Arthur and his wife, suddenly, on 14th July. Sadly missed by his three mates, Tony, Wally, Sid. We shall miss you sadly, pal. Goodnight and God bless.’ ‘Towle. In lovng memory of our dear brother (Arthur) also his dear wife (Lil). Loved by all. From Henry and sister-in-law Lil.’ Portsmouth Evening News, ‘Deaths’, 20 July 1944: ‘Towle. Sacred to the memory of our dear daughter Lilian and (-) Arthur, who passed away suddenly 14th-15th aged 32 and 34. A more loving couple it would be hard to find, a beautiful memory left behind. From their broken-hearted mother.’ ‘Towle. In loving memory of (-) Daddie and Mummie who suddnely went away July 14th-15th. I will treasure their memory always. From their (-) Peter.’ ‘Towle. In loving memory of my sister Lilian, and brother-in-law (-) who suddenly passed away July (-). Devoted in life they were not parted in death. From Grace, Ted, (-), Hetty’ ‘Towle. In memory of my sister Lily, also brother-in-law Arthur (-) passed suddenly away July (-). Grief too deep for words. (-) Dot, and baby Maureen.’ Portsmouth Evening News, ‘Roll of Honour’, 21 July 1944: ’Towle. Arthur. In memory of Arthur Towle and wife. From his old pal Dick Ritty. Will always have a place in God’s garden of remembrance.’ Portsmouth Evening News, ‘Thanks for Sympathy’, 22 July 1944: ‘Towle. Mrs Towle and Mrs Dempster and families tender thanks to everyone for messages and floral tributes in their sad loss.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Portsmouth Evening News, ‘Thanks for Sympathy’, 25 July 1944. ‘ Towle. Mrs Towle and family of Union Street, wish to thank (-) friends, and his pals of (-) Brewery for their kindness and sympathy; also floral tribute (-) sad bereavement. Deeply (-).’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Portsmouth Evening News, ‘Roll of Honour’ 14 July 1949: ‘Towle (nee Dempster). Loving and unfading memories of Lily and Arthur, killed by enemy action July 15th 1944. Sadly missed by their only child Peter. Mother and nephew Ernie. Dearly loved.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Portsmouth Evening News, ‘Roll of Honour’, 15 July 1952:’notice placed by Peter [son], mother [Dempster] and Ernie [nephew] (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)
Remembered on