RICHMOND, George

Stoker Class 1 George Richmond
282680 Royal Navy

George was born in Normonton on the Wolds, near Bingham, Nottinghamshire on 25th February 1877, son of an agricultural labourer Thomas Richmond and his wife Elizabeth. George grew up at Normanton and had a brother named John, born in 1879.  By the age of 15, in 1891 George was employed at ‘The Wolds’, Plumtree, Bingham as a farm servant. He obviously yearned for a life of adventure at sea and in June 1896 joined the Navy.

He was 5′ 4″ tall with hazel eyes, dark brown hair and a fresh complexion. He signed up for 12 years as a stoker, 7 years service and a further 5 years in the Fleet Reserve. He trained at HMS Victory II, Portsmouth and his first posting was aboard HMS Prince George, a Majestic-class pre-dreadnought battleship, newly launched the year before in 1895 and named after the future King George V.  He served on the Prince George until January 1899 patrolling the English Channel.

Photo: Prince George 1897

Richmond HMSPrinceGeorge1897 sml

In April 1899 after a few months on shore at Portsmouth, George joined the crew of the Duke of Wellington, a wooden three decker ship with a rather interesting history. Quite an old vessel, she had been laid down in 1849 as HMS Windsor Castle  and in her day was the largest sailing ship ever built, being 240 feet long and carrying a complement of 131 cannons. In 1852 she was cut apart and lengthened by 30 feet to allow 780 horse power engines and a screw propulsion system to be installed, enabling her to sail on steam. It seems that the Navy were rather fond of this vessel and she remained in service until 1904. Whilst George was serving aboard she was the Flagship of the Port Admiral at Portsmouth and had the honour of saluting all passing dignitaries at Portsmouth.

By 1901 George appears on the census aboard the HMS Ramillies a steel armoured 1st Class battleship launched in 1892 at a cost of £900,000 and in 1901 harboured at Grand Harbour, Valletta, Malta,  flagship of the Mediterranean Squadron.

In 1902, whilst still serving in the Navy, George married Patience Goodall from Canal Side, Pye Bridge, a village within walking distance of Jacksdale.

In 1902 George spent just 2 weeks at HMS Vernon a torpedo training school, then after a six month commission back on HMS Duke of Wellington, George served at HMS Excellent for the next 2 years, a shore establishment and naval gunnery school at Whale Island, Portsmouth. His last 5 months of service were spent aboard HMS Apollo during fleet manoeuvres, on one of the largest cruisers laid down. On 23rd September 1904 he was transferred to the Royal Fleet Reserve and no doubt moved to the Pye Bridge or Jacksdale area to take up his married life with his wife Patience. In September 1909, George agreed to re-enrol for a further 5 years in the Fleet Reserve.

In 1910 tragedy struck as Patience died aged 33, leaving George a widower. On the 1911 Census he was lodging at the home of widowed Mrs Sarah Nevan at Main Road, Jacksdale and George was employed as a stationary engine man at the iron works. On the outbreak of war in 1914 George was called up, serving for a month aboard HMS Vernon as a Stoker Class I, an ironclad battleship used as a depot ship and on 1st September 1914 he joined the crew of HMS Queen, serving on her until June 1918. Her duties entailed patrolling the English Channel, bombardment duties along the Belgian coast in support of the troops there in November 1914,  East Coast patrol late 1914,  participation in the Dardanelles Campaign in 1915 and helping to re-enforce the Italian Navy when they declared war on the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  She was based at Taranto, Italy until February 1917  and then re-fitted as a depot ship. She remained as flagship to the British Naval Forces in Taranto until February 1918. In June 1918 George returned to shore establishment HMS Victory II, serving there until his demob in October 1919.

He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War and Victory Medals.

It seems very likely that George returned to the Jacksdale area after the war as the village War Memorial was unveiled in 1921 and his name is on it. It is unclear whether George took another wife or had any children in later life.

Further information would be appreciated.