Every Name A Story Content

Simpson, S., A.B., 1917

H.M.S. Vanguard

On the Chatham Naval Memorial is the name of J/12578 Able Seaman Stanley Simpson serving with the Royal Navy who died 09/07/1917.

Pauline Priano has submitted the following:-

Stanley Simpson was born October 29th 1894 at South Hetton, Hawthorn, County Durham, a twin and one of 5 children of whom only 3 survived, all boys, born to miner-locomotive brakeman William Simpson born at Thornley, County Durham 1859 and Margaret Ann King 1868 of Haswell, County Durham who were married in the district of Easington, June 1886. They first set up home at White Lion Street, Haswell, as the family grew moving to Hawthorn Terrace in the village of Hawthorn. Stanley’s mother died in March 1910 when he was 16 years old. Living at home with his father and two brothers, they all worked at the colliery, Stanley as a putter, his father employed two young women as housekeeper and domestic servant.

Stanley enlisted June 11th 1913 as a boy sailor aboard the Ganges rising to the rank of Able Seaman in February 1914 whilst serving on the Africa. He married Mary Ann Wetherby in the district of Easington, March 1916.

Whilst serving aboard Dreadnaught Vanguard, Able Seaman Stanley Simpson J/12578 Royal Navy was killed, when, whilst in port with the fleet at Scapa Flow, Scotland, H.M.S. Vanguard was ripped apart by an internal explosion at 11.20 p. m. July 9th 1917 and sank with all hands. The first explosion occurred in the magazine amidships and was followed by several others lighting up the whole fleet as though it were day. Two men were saved from the water but died immediately after and only 187 bodies were recuperated of the more than 800 on board.

Able Seaman Simpson’s body was not recovered for burial, his sacrifice is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial in Kent, he was 22 years old. His awards of the 1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal were sent to his widow Mary Ann at 10 Railway Terrace, South Hetton, County Durham.

In God’s safe keeping. Rest In Peace.

Stanley Simpson is remembered at Hawthorn on H119.01 at South Hetton S127.03 and S127.05 and on our List of Ships’ crews

The CWGC entry for Able Seaman Simpson

If you know more about this person, please send the details to janet@newmp.org.uk