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  • Photograph of HMS Attack, 30 December 1917.  Source: Commons.wikimedia. org (HMSO has declared that the expiry of Crown Copyrights applies worldwide)
Person Details
26 Mar 1879
St Ann's Nottingham
He was the son of Robert and Mary (Maria) Matheson. Robert, who came from Manchester, was a lace hand. He and Mary had five children: Beardsley Robert (Robert), Frederick Thomas (Thomas), Arthur, George and Clarice. In 1881 when George was two years old, his parents were living at 7 Little John Terrace, St Ann's, Nottingham, with their four children, Robert (7), Thomas (6), Arthur (4) and George, their youngest son. They also had a boarder living with the family, Elizabeth Walker (20) who was a lace hand. Ten years later in 1891 the family was living at 27 Patterson Road, Radford, although by 1897, when their third son, Arthur, enlisted in the Army, they were living at 49 Paling Street, Hyson Green. In 1901 Robert and Mary were living at 7 Percy Terrace; they had a two year old daughter, Clarice, but their sons had left home. Again, they had a boarder living with them, Elizabeth Bostock (16) a shirt machinist. The CWGC record gives Robert Matheson's address as 37 Thurman Street, Hyson Green, Nottingham. George had already joined the Royal Navy by 1901 as at the time of the census he was serving in HMS Juno at Aden. He married Lucy Buckle in Portsmouth in 1905 (registered Oct/Nov/Dec) and they had one daughter, Lucy Clarice, who was born in 1908 (Oct/Nov/Dec). No record has been found of any other children. At the time of her husband's death, Lucy was living at 23 Silverlock Road, Twyford Avenue, Stamshaw, Portsmouth. George's older brother, Arthur, was a regular soldier. He joined the Royal Scottish Fusiliers (5596) on 24 August 1897 but was discharged on 29 October the same year on payment of £10. He then enlisted in the RFA on 1 December 1897 and became a sadler, gaining promotion to Sergeant Sadler on 1 March 1917. He served in three campaigns, South Africa (1900-1902), France (1914-1915) and Mesopotamia (1915-1919), and also served in India between 1911 and 1914. He returned to England from Mesopotamia on 3 March 1919. He was discharged from the Army on 28 April 1919 on the termination of his engagement with a pension for 21 years service.
He served in the Royal Navy pre-war.
30 Dec 1917
39
3041338 - CWGC Website
290620
Petty Officer Stoker
Royal Navy
Served in HMS Attack HMS Attack was an Acheron Class destroyer launched on the Clyde on December 12th 1911. On 27th December 1917 Attack and two Imperial Japanese Navy destroyers escorted two transport ships HMT Aragon and SS Nile from Malta to Egypt. The convoy weathered a gale and off the Egyptian coast at daybreak on Sunday 30 December it divided. Nile and the two Japanese destroyers proceeded to Port Said while Aragon and Attack made for Alexandria. Aragon and Attack were in Alexandria Roads about 8 miles (13 km) or 10 miles (16 km) outside the port awaiting permission to enter when at about 1100 hrs the German Type UC II submarine SM UC-34 torpedoed Aragon which rapidly began to sink. (Horst Obermüller, the captain of the submarine, was a successful submarine commander who survived the war.) Attack and the armed trawler HMT Points Castle came to the rescue Attack drew right alongside Aragon to take survivors aboard as quickly as possible helped by lines cast between the two ships. About 17 to 20 minutes after being hit Aragon went down and she suffered a second explosion as the cold seawater reached her hot boilers. Some of her boats were left upturned in the water. Attack was now crowded with 300 to 400 survivors some naked, some wounded, many unconscious and dying. Sergeant Harold Riddlesworth of the Cheshire Regiment repeatedly dived from the destroyer into the sea to rescue more survivors. He survived and was decorated with the Meritorious Service Medal. Then a torpedo struck Attack amidships and blew her into two pieces both of which sank with five to seven minutes. The explosion ruptured Attack 's bunkers spilling tons of thick, black bunker fuel oil into the sea as she sank. Hundreds of men were in the water and many of them became covered in oil or overcome by its fumes. Aragon 's surviving lifeboats now ferried hundreds of survivors to the two trawlers and other trawlers came out to assist. 10 seamen from Attack and 600 men from Aragon were killed. The wrecks of both ships now lie in an approximate position of 31°18′N 29°49′E. (Wikipedia) The Admiralty report into the loss of HMS Attack and HMT Aragon, 30 December 1917 is held in The National Archives (Kew), ref: ADM 1/8509/5.
His body was not recovered for burial and he is commemorated on Portsmouth Naval Memorial
Remembered on

Photos

  • Photograph of HMS Attack, 30 December 1917.  Source: Commons.wikimedia. org (HMSO has declared that the expiry of Crown Copyrights applies worldwide)
    George Henry Matheson - Photograph of HMS Attack, 30 December 1917. Source: Commons.wikimedia. org (HMSO has declared that the expiry of Crown Copyrights applies worldwide)
  • Survivors from HMT Aragon, 30 December 1917 (Bedfordshire Regiment website, photograph out of copyright).
    George Henry Matheson - Survivors from HMT Aragon, 30 December 1917 (Bedfordshire Regiment website, photograph out of copyright).