NAVAL SERVICE RECORD
with ship and other
Nov 1888 - Born Lincoln, England
Sep 1904 - Volunteered for 12 years service, aged 15, Official
1904-Oct 1905 - HMS Ganges, Boys training
establishment, Harwich, England.
1905 - HMS Pembroke, shore base, Chatham, England.
1905-Jan 1906 - HMS Repulse, battleship of the
"Royal Sovereign" class, (completed 1884, 14,100 tons,
4-13.5in and 10-6in guns, broken up 1911). Serving in Home
1906 - HMS Hawke, large cruiser of the "Edgar"
class, (completed 1893, 7,350 tons, 2-9.2in and 10-6in guns,
torpedoed and sunk in North Sea by German U.9, Oct 1914).
Serving as Boys Training Ship in 4th Cruiser Squadron on
North America and West Indies Station; paid off Aug 1906.
1906 - HMS Pembroke, shore base, Chatham, England
1906 - HMS Argonaut, large cruiser of the "Diadem"
class, (completed 1900, 11,000 tons, 16-6in guns, broken up
1920). Apparently in reserve at Chatham until June 1906 when
started refitting for Special Service.
I to Signalman to Qualified Signalman
1906-Sep 1908 - HMS Cadmus, sloop of "Cadmus" class
(last of long line of sloops retaining some sail power;
completed 1904, 1070 tons, paid off at Hong Kong 1920 after
spending entire career on China Station). Serving on China
1908 - HMS Crescent, large cruiser of "Edgar" class
(completed 1894, 7,700 tons, 1-9.2in, 12-6in guns, broken up
1921). Part of Portsmouth Division of Home Fleet 4th Cruiser
Squadron (until 1913).
1908-Mar 1909 - HMS Pembroke, shore base, Chatham.
1909 - HMS Actaeon, shore establishment.
1909 - HMS Pembroke, shore base, Chatham.
1909-Jan 1910 - HMS Minotaur, large cruiser of the
"Minotaur" class (completed 1908, 14,600 tons, 4-9.2in and
10-7.5in guns, broken up 1920). Serving with 1st Cruiser
Squadron, probably in Home Waters until early 1910.
1910 - HMS Pembroke, shore base, Chatham.
1910 - HMS Hyacinth, light cruiser of "Hermes" class
(completed 1900, 5,600 tons, 11-6in guns, broken up 1923).
From Feb 1907 as Flagship East Indies Station;
recommissioned at Bombay in Mar 1909 and then paid-off at
Chatham in Mar 1911. Serving on East Indies Station at this
1910 - HMS Philomel (above - Navy Photos), light
cruiser of "Pearl" class (completed 1891, 2,575 tons, to
RNZN 1914, sold 1947, scuttled off New Zealand in 1949).
Commissioned at Portsmouth in July 1909 for East Indies
Station, returning in 1913. Serving in the East Indies.
1910 - HMS Fox, light cruiser of the "Astraea" class
(completed 1896, 4,360 tons, 2-6in and 8-4.7in guns, broken
up 1920). Left Devonport in June 1908 to relieve light
cruiser "Highflyer" in East Indies, recommissioning at
Muscat, Gulf of Oman in July 1910. Probably left ship there.
1910 - HMS Alert, steel screw sloop of "Alert" class
(schooner rigged, completed 1895, 960 tons, 4-6in guns, sold
1926); fleet messenger ship, believed on East Indies Station
1910-July 1912 - HMS Fox, light cruiser (as
above). After recommissioning at Muscat in July 1910,
served on East Indies Station until recommissioning again at
Aden in July 1912.
part in capture of Persian Gulf gun-runners on 25 March
and 11 July 1911, and 10 February 1912. Paid a gun-running
gratuity, 3 November 1915
1912 - HMS Hermione, sister ship to "Fox" (details
as for "Fox", except broken up 1921). Serving with 4th
Division, Home Fleet so believed in Home waters.
to Leading Signalman
1912 - HMS Pembroke, shore base, Chatham.
1912-Jan 1914 - HMS Hecla, destroyer depot ship
(ex-"British Crown", launched 1878, 6,400 tons, 4-12 pdr
guns. Originally torpedo depot ship and played important
role in developing British torpedo forces).
1914-Apr 1915 - HMS Woolwich, destroyer depot ship
and HMS Forester, destroyer of "Acheron" class
(launched 1911, 780 tons, 2-4in guns and 2-21in torpedo
tubes, sold 1921). Joined 1st Flotilla around 1911-12 and
part of Home Fleet from Aug 1914 until 1916. Possibly with
1st Flotilla as part of The Harwich Force, commanded by
Aug 1914 - HMS Forester took part in the Battle
of the Heligoland Bight and was possibly involved in
the sinking of German destroyer V.187.
1915 - HMS Vivid I, signals shore establishment,
Signalman to Yeoman of Signals
1915-27 Mar 1916 - HMS Dido, destroyer depot ship
and HMS MEDUSA, destroyer of "Medea" class (launched
27th Mar 1915, completed July 1915, 1,000 tons, 3-4in guns
and 4-21in torpedo tubes). Joined Harwich force.
Oct 1915 - Awarded Naval General Service Medal with
Persian Gulf 1909-14 clasp
Nov 1915 - Paid gun-running gratuity for captures made in
1916 - Harwich Force of light cruisers and destroyers
screened "Vindex" for a seaplane attack on the Zeppelin
sheds near the island of Sylt off the North Sea coast of
Germany. "Laverock" accidentally rammed "Medusa"
amidships, leaving her with an enormous hole in the
engine-room and had to be taken in tow by flotilla leader
"Lightfoot". They were only 40 miles from Heligoland and
as "Medusa" was towed north to join the cruisers, were
bombed for a number of hours by German seaplanes. Weather
worsened with heavy seas and violent rain-squalls
alternating with snow. Towing was reduced to 6 knots -
(quote) "with the seas breaking over her ("Medusa") as she
lay over at an appalling angle .... looked more like a
half-tide rock than a ship". They met Admiral Beatty's
battlecruisers, but were too close to German forces and
the weather was getting even worse. The tow parted and the
decision made to abandon ship at 10.00 pm in pitch
darkness. Most of "Medusa's" ship's company (including
Yeoman of Signals George Smith) were saved by destroyer
1916 - HMS Vivid I, signals shore establishment,
1916 - HMS Woolwich, destroyer depot ship and HMS
Forester, destroyer (details as above).
Possibly with 1st Flotilla as part of Harwich Force, until
Spring 1916 when attached to 3rd Battleship Squadron
believed to consist of old pre-Dreadnoughts of the "King
Edward VII" class serving with the Grand Fleet based at
Family in The Great War, c 1916
Smith, his wife Emily and son George
William Charles Smith,
born Devonport 11 January 1916
(Gordon Smith's father). PO
Smith was back with HMS Forester at
to right - George Smith, Bob (?), his
father, brother-in-law Charles, brother
George Smith with Joe over from Canada
with the Canadian Army
1916 - HMS Dido, destroyer depot ship and HMS
Forester (details as above, including presumed service
with 3rd Battleship Squadron).
1916-Jun 1917 - HMS Vivid I, signals shore
1917-5 Dec 1918 - HMS CASSANDRA, light cruiser of
"Caledon" class (launched Nov 1916, completed June 1917,
4,120 tons, 5-6in guns). Joined 6th Light Cruiser Squadron
of the Grand Fleet from June 1917; with sister ship
"Caradoc" ran aground on Fair Isle on 15th Aug 1917 and
towed to Lerwick for repairs. Then in Nov 1918 to the Baltic
to be sunk by mine in the Gulf of Finland on 5th Dec 1918
with 11 dead. Numerous offensive and defensive minefields
laid by the Germans and Russians in the Baltic.
1918-Mar 1919 - HMS Vivid I, signals shore
1919 - HMS Fox, light cruiser (details as above).
From 1915 to 1918, served in East Indies and Egyptian waters
and then Red Sea, but then paid off in Mar 1919.
May 1919 - War gratuity paid; recommended for Chief Yeoman
HMS Fox, light cruiser and HMS Borodino,
fleet messenger ship (see
North Russian Expeditionary Force)
1919-Oct 1920 - HMS Vivid, signals shore
Jan 1920 - Awarded Distinguished Service Medal
during service on HMS Fox in North Russia.
I long wondered why my
grandfather was awarded the DSM. Then I
pinned it down to North Russia, but it
was not until Damien Wright from
Australia sent me the official
recommendation, out of the blue, that I
learnt the details. Damien was then in
the final stages of completing a book on
British and Commonwealth involvement in
the Russian Civil War 1918-20 and had
come across a copy of the original. My
family and I are very grateful to
Damien for his thoughtfulness -
click to enlarge
FOR HONOUR, or MENTION
Smith, Christian Name: George
Rank or rating: Yeoman of Signal,
Official No.: 232,282
Ship: "FOX" addl., Station: Archangel
particulars of distinguished service for
which recommendation is made: Has
performed excellent service in connection
with signalling in action. He was one of
the Petty Officers including in the
signalling staff employed on every
occasion of flotilla bombardments and
showed marked coolness and ability under
Medal for which recommended, or mention: D.S.M.
of Commanding Officer - signed E Altham
Captain, S.N,O. Archangel River Expedition
Date: 1 Oct. 1919.
May 1920 - Paid Naval prize money
Jul 1920 - Awarded 1914-15 Star
of Signals to Chief Yeoman of Signals
1920-Jan 1922 - HMS Columbine, shore-based destroyer
depot, Port Edgar, Firth of Forth and HMS Vanquisher,
destroyer of the "V" and "W" classes (launched 1917, 1,100
tons, 4-4in guns and 4-21in torpedo tubes, broken up 1947).
Possibly with Atlantic Fleet or based at Rosyth. (see
Baltic Cruise 1921)
1921 - Awarded Victory and other war service medals
1922 - HMS Vivid I, signals shore establishment,
Apr 1922 - Awarded Long Service Good Conduct medal
May 1922 - Paid medal gratuity
May 1922 - Paid final share of Naval prize fund
1922-Oct 1925 - HMS Curlew (above, no
enlargement), light cruiser of the "Ceres" class and
close sister to "Cassandra" (launched 1917, 4,190 tons,
5-6in guns, sunk by German air attack, Norway in May 1940).
Recommissioned Nov 1922 for North America and West Indies
& West Indies 1922-25)
Sep 1923 - Six United States "Clemson" class destroyers
went ashore in poor visibility in the San Francisco area (see
May 1924 - Paid supplementary final share of Naval prize
1925 - HMS Vivid I, signals shore establishment,
1925-Sep 1926 - HMS Britannia, Royal Naval College,
1926 - HMS Vivid I, signals shore establishment,
1926-Aug 1928 - HMS Durban, light cruiser of "Danae"
class (launched 1919, 4,970 tons, 6-6in guns, scuttled as
part of Mulberry harbour off Normandy beaches, 9th June
1944). "Durban" joined 5th Light Cruiser Squadron on China
Station in Nov 1921, and remained until 1928. (see
1928 - HMS Vivid I, signals shore establishment,
November 1928 - Pensioned after 24 years service at age 40
and enrolled in Royal Fleet Reserve until age 50.
January 1929 - Discharged from Royal Fleet Reserve and
enrolled in Royal Navy Shore Signal Service (RNSSS).
service (see Royal Naval Shore Signal Service)
Fox, Archangel, Aug/Sep 1919
General Service Medal with clasp, Persian
Naval Long Service & Good Conduct Medal
Sources of Warship Information:
"Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1860-1905"
"Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1906-1921"
June 1977 - Died
Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, England