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Simpson, R., A/Smn., 1917

AB Richard Simpson Z 5589

On Chatham Naval Memorial is the name of Tyneside Z/5589 Able Seaman Richard Simpson, serving with the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve who died on the 14/08/1917.

Richard Simpson was born on the 4th August 1898, to Ralph, born 4, Percy Terrace, in 1873, [youngest son of 5 children to Richard and Sarah E. Simpson], a fish porter/hawker, and Christina Simpson (nee Douglas), born 10th July 1873, died 1956, who were married in 1897. They were residing at 42 Edith Street, Tynemouth, Northumberland, with his younger brother Thomas Douglas Simpson, born 26th December 1900, in 1901.

Thomas Douglas in 1939, [a water fitting inspector], was residing at 4 Selwyn Avenue, Whitley Bay, Northumberland, and was married to Ethel S. Simpson, born the 20th January 1909. His mother, now widowed was residing with them.

In 1911 the family were residing at 57 Park Road, for a short period of time. Richard and Thomas were educated in at least three different schools.

Richard was educated at the King Edward School, North Shields, then the Plessey Road, Mixed School from the 1st June 1911, with his brother Thomas, [born 26th December 1900], he also attended Crofton Temporary Infants School from from the 21st August 1911 at Blyth whilst residing at 57 Park Road, until the 5th July 1912, then he received his Labour certificate at the age of 14.

Able Seaman Simpson was one of the few survivors from HMS Hampshire when she sunk on 5th June 1916 with Lord Kitchener on board and 661 other souls.

The Evening Chronicle 26/09/2014 carries an article which reads:

"He was just 18 when he was one of only 12 survivors from a sinking which claimed the life of war minister Lord Kitchener. He made it to shore on Orkney Islands after HMS Hampshire hit a mine which resulted in loss of 643 men including Kitchener who was on a mission to Russia. He was taken in by a farmer and wrote to his mother from this cottage: 'Out of the 60 that started six of us were alive after we reached the shore On the shore beside the house there are hundreds of bodies.'

The Newcastle Daily Chronicle 09/06/1916 reports:

"There is now no doubt that the Tynemouth Seaman, Richard Simpson, is one of the survivors of H.M.S. Hampshire, from the list given on page 4, the name of Richard Simpson appears on the official list of the survivors picked up a on a raft. Mrs, Buerdell, or Orrell, near Bootle, has received from the Admiralty a telegram intimating that her husband, who was a member of the crew of the Hampshire has been saved.

A telegram received in Aberdeen, last night, from Kirkwall, stated that there were twelve survivors. Reports current are to the effect that several men who reached the shore subsequently died from exposure. The vessel sank two miles from land. A terrific gale was raging, and one boat was swamped and all aboard drowned. All the bodies recovered are being removed to Stromness."

According to Maritime Records the S.S. Thames of Hull (403 GRT) was built at Goole in 1910 and owned by Dale Coasters Limited. She was reported to have sailed from Middlesbrough for Fecamp with a cargo of pig iron on the 14th August 1917. Nothing more was heard of her and she was posted as missing/untraced on the 21st November 1917. The German U Boat diaries indicate that she was sunk by gun fire from the German U Boat UC-63 commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Karsten von Heydebreck at 53 degrees 42 North, 00 degrees 24 East with the loss of all hands.

Richard Simpson lost his life on the HMS Thames on the 14th August 1917.

The Times 22/11/1917

Missing Steamers Posted
At Lloyd's yesterday the British steamers AYLEVAROO and THAMES, and the Greek steamer FRIXOS, were posted as missing. The AYLEVAROO, 908 tons, Tracey master, was re-ported to have sailed from Liverpool for Tralee and Limerick on October 7, with a general cargo, and waslast seen off the Skerries on the same morning by the British steamer Conigbeg. The AYLEVAROO was built at Newcastle in 1908 as the Lillie, and was ownedby the Limerick Steamship Company. The THAMES, Carling master, was reported to have sailed from Middlesborough for Fécamp on August 14, with a cargoof pig-iron. She was of 403 tons, built at Goole in 1910, and owned by the Dale Coasters (Limited). The FRIXOS, Fakis master, sailed from New York for Man-chester on April 19, with a cargo of wheat. She was a steamer of 3,531 tons, built at West Hartlepool in 1907, and managed by Embiricos Brothers.

Shields Daily News 08/12/1917:

DEATHS. SIMPSON. Lost at sea, Aug. 14th, Richard Simpson, R.N.V.R., aged 19 years, eldest son of Ralph and Christina Simpson, 42 Edith Street, Tynemouth.

Shields Daily News 08/06/1916:

TYNEMOUTH MEN ON THE HAMPSHIRE. Officially Reported Saved. Mrs Simpson 42 Edith Street, Tynemouth, has received official confirmation of the fact that her son, who was serving as A.B. on the H.M.S. Hampshire, is safe. Late last night she received the following telegram from the Admiralty:- "Richard Simpson, able seaman, reported saved. Admiralty". This is all the information she has received.

Shields Daily News 09/12/1917:

DEATH OF RICHARD SIMPSON, OF TYNEMOUTH. A survivor of the Hampshire Disaster. Mrs Simpson, of Edith Street, Tynemouth, has received word that her son, Richard Simpson, R.N.V.R., was lost at sea on August 14th. Deceased was one of the few survivors of H.M.S. Hampshire, which foundered at sea with Lord Kitchener on board, off the North of Scotland, on June 5th, 1916. His father, Mr Ralph Simpson is serving in the Army.

Newcastle Weekly Chronicle 19/7/1919. Honour Roll of Mercantile Marine . Names of Local Masters And Men Simpson R Tynemouth 14 Aug. 1917.

Acknowledgments: Doreen Morton

This photo has been supplied by the Simpson Family with thanks to the Northumbrian WW1 Commemoration project.

Richard Simpson is remembered in Tynemouth on T36.01 and on our List of Ships’ crews.

Northumbrian WW1 Commemoration Project
The CWGC entry for Able Seaman Simpson

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