Steward George Clement Hersey

Service:  Royal Navy
Service No:  L4859
Date and place of birth: 26 August 1895 in Midhurst, Sussex
Date and place of death: 31 May 1916 at sea 

Family background

George Clement Hersey was the second son of George and Anna Hersey, nee Court, who had married in Midhurst near the end of 1892. In 1901 George Clement was 5 and living with his parents, brother Arthur Henry (7) and sister Dorothy Nelly (3) in the Sandrock area of Petersfield Road, Midhurst.

George Hersey died in the 3rd qtr of 1901, aged 33, and by the 1911 census his widow, Anna Hersey (40) was head of household and working as a laundress.  Living with her were: Arthur Henry (17), an under gardener, George Clement (15), a houseboy, and Dorothy Nelly (13).  Their address was Gorse Cottage, Half Moon Cottages, Petersfield Road, Midhurst.

Military service

National Archive records show that George Clement Hersey served as a steward on HMS Vernon from 14 October 1913 to 31 December 1913. He joined HMS Invincible on 14 August 1914 and at the date of his death he was the Chief Steward to the Officer’s Mess.

HMS Invincible entered the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916.  The battle was fought in the North Sea, near Jutland, Denmark. It was considered to be the only major naval battle of WW1. The Germans claimed victory as they had sunk a higher number of ships, but Admiral Jellicoe claimed victory as his fleet was still sea worthy, despite the heavy losses (14 ships and 6,000 lives)

In his report to the Admiralty Jellicoe stated

‘ ….. the 4th, 11th and 12th Flottillas delivered a series of very gallant and successful attacks on the enemy causing him heavy losses.  It was during these attacks that severe losses in the 4th flotilla occurred.  There were many gallant deeds performed by the destroyer flotillas; they surpassed the very highest expectations that I had formed of them.’

Death and commemoration

George Clement Hersey was “killed or died as a direct result of enemy action”. His body was never recovered.

There is a record of a War Gratuity being paid but not the name of the recipient.

He was awarded Star, Victory and British War medals.

He is commemorated on Midhurst War Memorial, Memorial Panels in Midhurst Parish Church and Portsmouth Memorial 21.

Subsequent family history

Arthur Henry Hersey is listed on the Memorial Panels as having gone to war.  He married Ethel Cook in 1927 in Midhurst and died in 1948, aged 54.

Dorothy Nelly Hersey married Daniel Death in 1920. She died in 1966, aged 68, in the New Forest district.  Daniel Death died in 1973, aged 79, also in the New Forest district.

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project