Saturday, September 06, 2014

K36936 Stoker George Thomas Simmons, HMS Maidstone, Royal Navy

George Thomas Simmons was born at Chailey on 5th January 1895, his birth registered at Lewes in the March quarter of that year. He appears on the 1901 census of England and Wales living with his family at Middleton Farm House, Chailey village. The household comprised Edward Simmons (head, married, aged 57; a farmer and employer), his wife Alice Simmons (aged 43) and George (aged six). Also at the house were Edward A Funnell (aged 20, noted as a nephew and working as an agricultural labourer) and a 74 year old widower also working as an agricultural labourer.

On 9th October 1916, George enlisted with the Royal Navy at Portsmouth for the duration of hostilities. He was five feet, eleven inches tall, had dark brown hair, brown eyes and a dark complexion. It was noted that he had a scar on his upper lip. He gave his occupation as farm labourer and was given the rating of stoker second class and the service number K36936.

George remained at Portsmouth (on the shore station HMS Victory) until 8th February 1917, at which point he was transferred to HMS Badger, an Acheron class destroyer. He had been promoted to stoker first class in December 1916, the same month that Chailey Parish Magazine first mentioned him as a stoker in the Royal Navy. He remained with HMS Badger until 24th January 1918 at which point he returned to Portsmouth (HMS Victory II). HMS Badger had been launched on 11th July 1911 and was part of the Grand Fleet from 1914 until 1916 when she transferred to the 3rd Battle Squadron. On 2nd August 1918 he was posted to HMS Maidstone (a depot ship and submarine tender based at Harwich) and remained with this ship until 13th April 1919.

George Simmons was demobbed on 29th April 1919. Throughout his service with the Royal Navy his character was rated as very good and his ability as satisfactory. His service record survives at The National Archives in the class ADM 188, piece 940.

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