W.O., Gunner 211926, HMS Crusader, Royal Navy
Died 21st January 1917, aged 31
Remembered at Portsmouth Naval Memorial
& on both Blakeney War Memorials
George King was born in Cley, 31st July 1885, the son of William and Clara King. William (born 1848 Suffolk) was the local Coastguard officer stationed at Cley at that time. He had transferred from the Royal Navy to the Coastguard Service about the time he married Clara Locke, 1875 in Fulham, Middlesex. The stations that he was posted to included Morston, Burnham Overy, Cley, Thornham, all in Norfolk then Wainfleet St Mary, Lincolnshire and finally, a return to Morston where he was Head Boatman. W. King retired from the Service and became the licencee of the King’s Arms in Blakeney. He eventually retired from work altogether and went to live with his married daughter, Elsie Eggleton, at Greencroft where he died, 1937.
George together with three of his brothers, William Edward (born Fulham 1876), Frederick William (born Morston 1877) and Herbert Victor (born Thornham 1889), followed their father into the Royal Navy. Frederick and Herbert survived the Great War with Herbert serving again later in WW2 His other siblings were Florence Alberta, Edith Clara, Charles Christopher, Henry James, Frank Arthur and Elsie Maud, a family with ten children.
George signed on in 1900 as a 2nd Class Boy and received his initial training on HMS Ganges stationed at Harwich. He rose through the ranks, serving on at least 15 different ships before being transferred to the Officers Section (Warrant Officer) in 1914 on the eve of the War. Meanwhile he had married Nellie Milton in 1912.
His war service began at ‘Attentive II for HMS Mohawk’; this phrase causes much confusion but it is the official designation for his placement as a trainer at the Shore Station based at Dover. This was followed by HMS Vernon for training that concentrated on torpedo trials, anti-submarine warfare, mines and electrics. He then returned to ‘Atttentive II for HMS Viking’, HMS Yarmouth for more training and finally ‘Attentive II for HMS Crusader’. HMS Mohawk, Viking and Crusader were all Tribal-class destroyers, each seeing action in the North Sea and English Channel as part of the 6th Flotilla and Dover Patrols.
George was lost overboard from HMS Crusader during heavy seas. The Court of Inquiry reported that “he slipped over the ship’s side whilst walking aft in the dark”. No blame was attributed to any one. George left a widow and two young children living in Portsmouth. Meanwhile his father, who was by now living in Blakeney, was so aggrieved at the loss of a second son from a naval accident, allegedly descended on the Admiralty in London demanding an explanation.
George, and his oldest brother William who was killed when HMS Bulwark exploded whilst moored off the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, were neither born nor ever lived in Blakeney. Nevertheless this is where their parents lived and chose to remember the sacrifice of their sons by having their names inscribed on both the Blakeney War Memorials with an additional inscription added to one of the panels that surrounds the church memorial.