George William Jones was born on 22 January 1885 in Rochester, Kent. He was one of eight children born to Edmund Jones and Sarah Ann Harper. The 1891 Census shows the family living at 5 Albert Road, Rochester, Kent his father was working as a shoemaker. By 1901, the family had moved to 203 High Street, Rochester, George was now working as a Billiard marker (Billiard markers kept score of billiard matches in pubs).
On 9 January 1907, George joined the Royal Navy. The first ship he served on was SS Acheron. His Navy records show that George had a fresh complexion, brown hair and hazel eyes. He was 5’5″ tall, he was had worked as a labourer. The last ship served on during this period was SS Pembroke II where he served until 27 January 1911, George was a stoker. On 28 January 1911, George transferred to RFR Chatham.
The 1911 Census, shows George living back with his parents at 317 High Street, Rochester, Kent. He was working for a Haulage Contractor as a motor driver’s mate.
By 13 July 1914, George was back serving in the Royal Navy as a 1st stoker on HMS Aboukir, service no. SS102172. George drowned at sea on 22 September 1914, his ship HMS Aboukir was sunk by a German Submarine. He was killed or died as a direct result of enemy action aged 29, his father Edmund was informed of his death. His body was not recovered for burial.
During the first months of WW1, one of the largest naval disasters happened in the North Sea, 22 September 1914. Three large but old British cruisers -HMS Cressy, Hogue and Aboukir- were shot at and went down just off the Dutch coast. Eight torpedoes launched by stealth from an unnoted German submarine sunk the ships whose crews were totally unprepared for the attack. For weeks after this catastrophe bodies of British sailors were washed ashore on the Dutch coast. Of the combined crew of 2296 there were 837 survivors, a few hundred of whom could be rescued by Dutch merchant vessels. The wrecks of the three unfortunate cruisers still rest on the seabed, forming as many mass graves.
George William Jones is remembered at Chatham Naval Memorial.
References and links:
Find a Grave Index for Burials at Sea and other Select Burial Locations, 1300s-Current
Commonwealth War Graves
British Army, Navy bmd Records
Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Grave Roll
Chatham Naval memorial photograph from commonwealth war graves
Royal Navy Record
Karen Mapley, 2016