George Frederick Thomas Coombes (Ch) K 25596, Stoker 1st Class.


George was born on the 23rd November 1896 to parents George and Matilda.

At the time of the 1901 census George was the eldest child of 3, aged 4. His father worked as a Groom and the family lived at 39 Villa Street in the parish of Newington in Southwark.

10 years later George was the eldest of 5 children; he had left school and worked as a labourer at a brewery. George Snr still worked with horses and the family lived at 35 Amery Place in Old Kent Road.

George joined the Navy on 23rd April 1915, for the duration of hostilities - he stood 5'7" tall and had dark brown hair and brown eyes.

He was immediately sent to HMS PEMBROKE II to train as a Stoker 2nd Class, leaving for his only ship's posting, HMS VANGUARD, on 9th July 1915. He rose to Stoker 1st Class on 23rd March 1916, just before taking part in the Battle of Jutland aboard the dreadnought.

His image was part of a fuller photograph taken in 1916, when George was part of the Stokers Second Racing Whaler's Crew, winners of the Bellerophon and Erin Cups.

His story is one of the many extra tragic tales from the Vanguard explosion. His father had also joined the Navy and the Vanguard on 27th March


1917. The family lost both a son and husband that evening.

Both his and his father’s names are written and entwined on the memorial at Southwark Cathedral.


#64 - 188/843


Sources:

1901 & 1911 England Census

Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services, 1848-1939 National Archives Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services; Class: ADM 188; Piece: 918

CWGC Register

British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960 National Archives Admiralty: Naval Casualties, Indexes, War Grave Rolls and Statistics Book, First World War.; Class: ADM 242; Piece: 007 (1914 - 1919)

National Archives Admiralty and predecessors: Office of the Director General of the Medical Department of the Navy and predecessors: Service Registers and Registers of Deaths and Injuries. Registers of Reports of Deaths

Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914-1919 TNA Series: ADM 242/7; Scan Number: 0871

Photo source - Peter Bunn



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