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NORTH SHIELDS

Norris, G.C., D/Hand., 1914

Newcastle Journal Saturday 29th August 1914

M S Albatross German Mine Layer

On the Chatham Naval Memorial is the name of 207DA Deckhand George Crossley Norris,serving with the Royal Naval Reserve who died on the 27/08/1914.

George Crossley Norris was born 27th January 1891 at Aberdeen, Scotland, the eldest son of the late Robert Norris and Mary Jane.

George was a Labourer working at the Fish Quay at North Shields, in 1911,and residing at 47 Bell Street, North Shields.

On the 1st January 1912, George married Lilian Davison at Christ Church. They had three children, Mary, George C, and Wilhelmina Norris. They were all residing at 15 Hudson Street, North Shields, when war broke out.

George was a deckhand on the steam Trawler H. M. Thomas W. Irvin (which was registered at Aberdeen), when the vessel struck a mine about 28 miles from the Tyne, on Thursday 27th August 1914.

He was aged 22.

His wife now a widow, married Ernest P. Guidery in February 1917.

De Ruvigny Roll of Honour

Thomas W Irvin, 201/1911, R Irvin & Sons, Aberdeen-reg A421, hired 8/14 as minesweeper, unarmed, Admiralty No.61, Skipper Henry Charles Thompson RNR, one of four minesweepers under command of Cdr R W Dalgety RN Rtd, Tyne Minesweeping Base. Left harbour around 0530 to sweep the area, twenty-eight miles off the mouth of the River Tyne. Seven mines swept and destroyed in the afternoon. Preparing to connect up another sweep at 1625, detonated mine, broke up and sank quickly (wi - in 55.01N, 01.22.45W); 3 ratings lost including Norris.

Source: Royal Navy History, with thanks.

Eye witness account and report.

"On the morning of Thursday, August 27, 1914, we were lying in the Tyne in touch, as usual, with our outlying patrols, when, at about 4.30am, we received a signal from one of our torpedo-boats...…...an Icelandic trawler, the SKULI FORGETI [sic], had been blown up by a mine at 10pm last night. It happened about 30... miles to the eastward of the Tyne...

'Next, at 5.30pm, we heard that Hired Trawler No.61, the THOMAS W IRVIN, one of those that had gone to sea that morning, had been blown up and sunk...So far as I can gather, the following are the casualties...THOMAS W IRVIN, 3 killed...

'The Skipper of No.61 came on board when he arrived in harbour at about 8pm, and had some food in the wardroom. He is a splendid fellow; but is naturally rather shaken by his experience.

'He was in the wheelhouse with Commander Dalgety when the mine went off underneath him. He doesn't remember how he got out of the wheelhouse; but imagines he was blown out through the roof, for the next thing he remembers was that he was drenched in water and running aft to launch the one boat they carried in the stern...The ship went down in less than five minutes, her boiler exploding as she did so...

'That particular minefield, containing 194 mines, had been laid by the German minelayer ALBATROS escorted by the cruiser STUTTGART soon after dark on August 26.

Taffrail (Captain Taprell Dorling, DSO, FRHistS) 1935 Swept Channels

Built: 1911. Builder: Hall, Russell and Company Ltd. Where built: Aberdeen.

Propulsion: Screw-driven, 3-cylinder triple expansion. HP: 78. Boilers: 1. Construction: 1 deck Crew Lost: 3 (6)Owner: Royal Navy [all sourceslSource:- Newcastle Journal Saturday, 29th August 1914 carried a report under the heading Sea Mines.

"Herring Drifter sunk in the North Sea.

The area of the minefield, so dangerous to mercantile shipping and the fleet of fishing craft now engaged in the herring fishery, must not be indicated, the official order being that. 'in the case of the sinking of trading vessels or trawlers by enemy mines, no position, bearings, or distance shall be given.'

News of a sixth shipping disaster, due to the presence of mines in the North Sea, and reported in the Tyne, was brought to the North Shields Fish Market yesterday, the number of victims being raised to the total of 25.

When the Lowestoft drifter 'Hastings Castle' arrived from the fishing grounds, the master reported that he had been 'spoken to' the previous night by the Hall trawler 'St Clair' which had on board four survivors of the crew of the Buckie steam herring drifter 'Barley Rig'. That vessel, it was stated, had been destroyed by a mine during the day, five lives having been lost. The report was confirmed yesterday afternoon by the arrival at Grimsby of the 'St Clair', where she had landed the four survivors, and also a dead fisherman.

Appended is a list of the vessels destroyed the number of lives lost, etc:-

Skule Forfgeti, Iceland trawler-four lives lost; 13 men saved (two injured and in hospital).

Gottfried, Norwegian steamer-eight lost; four saved (two slightly injured).

T.W. Irvin, Shields trawler, and Crathie, Aberdeen trawler-five lost; 19 saved (eight injured and in hospital).

Gaea? Danish schooner-three lost, four saved (This ship was described by the Press Bureau as Eas).

Barley Rig, Scotch drifter, five lost; four saved.

The following is a list of those killed or drowned in the destruction of the T.W. Irvin and Crathie; Henry W Milward, deckhand, 5 Tennyson Terrace, North Shields. Robert H. Sadler, trimmer, 18 Wellington Place, South Shields. George C. Norris, 15 Hudson Street, North Shields. Francis G. Dunbar, deckhand, Aberdeen. Thomas Noble Aberdeen. The three Shields men were married, and Sadler leaves one child."

Shields Daily News 1 September 1914: Deaths - Norris. Lost off the T.W. Irvin, on the 27th ult., age 23 years, George Crossley Norris, the dearly beloved husband of Lily Norris (nee Davison), of 15 Hudson Street, North Shields, and the eldest son of Mary and the late Robert Norris. Deeply mourned.

Henry Woodvine Millward also from North Shields was also killed on the same vessel. See his Every Name A Story entry.

George Crossley Norris is remembered at Tynemouth in T36.14 and on our List of Ships’ crews

Journal Article 15th January 2011
Trawler's requsitioned by the Admiralty
Royal Navy History
The CWGC entry for Deck Hand Norris

Newcastle Journal Sea Mines 29th August 1914

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