Hougham, George Alexander

Male 1873 - 1915  (41 years)

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  • Name Hougham, George Alexander 
    Born 21 Oct 1873  Lambeth Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 1 Jan 1915 
    • On 1881 census as living with parents

      On 1891 census as painter boarding at Ely Place Lambeth

      On 190 1census as navy man on board HMS Perseus

      In Memory of
      Stoker 1st Class
      H.M.S. "Formidable.", Royal Navy
      who died on
      Friday, 1st January 1915. Age 41.
      Additional Information: Son of Charles Henry and Frances Louisa Hougham, of London.
      Commemorative Information
      Memorial: CHATHAM NAVAL MEMORIAL, Kent, United Kingdom
      Grave Reference/
      Panel Number: 11.

      Location: The Memorial overlooks the town of Chatham and is approached by a steep path from the Town Hall Gardens.

      World War 1 Service: Formidable 5th Battle Squadron Channel Fleet. August 1914 covered the transportation of the BEF. 25 August 1914 took part in transport of Portsmouth Marine battalion to Ostend. 1 January 1915 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U24 in the Channel.

      HMS FORMIDABLE. Formidable Class battleship Built: 17 November 1898. CO: Capt A.N.Loxley RN, flagship of Vice Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly. Location lost: English Channel, 25 miles off Portland. Cause: Submarine attack. Casualties: 547 Survivors: 233. Notes: HMS Formidable was leading the eight battleships of the 5th Battle Squadron down the English Channel screened by two light cruisers. The destroyers had been sent back to Harwich when the ships passed Folkestone. The squadron had been spotted by U24 (Kapitanleutnant Rudolph Schneider) but he had been unable to manoeuvre into an attacking position and had to watch as the ships sailed by. Shortly after 1900hrs the British ships made a 16-point turn in accordance with orders that course should be altered after dark in areas where submarines were known to be operating. Again at 0200hrs a second 16-point turn was made so that Formidable and her consorts were steaming back along their course and towards U24. This time Schneider was in a perfect position and at 0225hrs fired a torpedo against Formidable, the last ship in the line. It hit her on the starboard side by the fore funnel. Her machinery spaces began to flood and she assumed a list to starboard. At 0315hrs Schneider fired a second torpedo which hit Formidable on the port side. On board Formidable the dynamos failed although the crew maintained perfect discipline in the listing and darkened ship. At 0445hrs she capsized and then sunk. Bayly was ordered to haul down his flag as a result of this loss. His request for a court martial was refused despite prominent and vocal support for him in the House of Lords. In the end Bayly became the highly successful commander of Angle-American forces operating from Queenstown in Southern Ireland.

      HMS Formidable was sunk by two torpedoes from a German submarine 20 miles off Start Point at 2 am, 1st January 1915, in the first year of the First World War. The first torpedo hit the number one boiler port side; a second explosion caused the ship to list heavily to starboard. Huge waves thirty feet high lashed the stricken ship, with strong winds, rain and hail, sinking it in less than two hours.
      Captain Loxley, his second-in-command, Commander Ballard, and the signaller stayed at their posts throughout, sending flares and rockets off at regular intervals. There was no panic, the men waiting calmly for the lifeboats to be lowered. Someone played ragtime on the piano, others sang. The Chaplain risked his life going below to find cigarettes. Suddenly the ship gave a tremendous lurch, the Captain shouted 'Lads, this is the last, all hands for themselves, and may God bless you and guide you to safety'. He then walked to the forebridge, lit a cigarette and, with his terrier Bruce on duty at his side, waited for the end, in true Royal Naval tradition. The piano was thrown overboard: many of the boats were smashed as they were lowered into the water, killing all occupants, or else were swamped and sank. 'A piano's better than now't', said one. One pinnace with 70 men on board was picked up by the trawler Provident, 15 miles off Berry Head. The second pinnace took off another 70 men. This boat was soon half-filled with water as the men desperately bailed - with boots, caps, even a blanket, anything that came to hand. One seaman sat over a hole in the boat from the time they started away to the time of rescue. The enormous swell was terrifying, but morale was kept up by any means, humour, singing, even bullying. Petty Officer Bing admitted punching men who wanted to give up. The survivors unanimously agreed they owed their lives to Leading Seaman Carroll, coxswain, who continued to cheer and inspire, not allowing them to sink into despair. Dawn broke out of sight of land; a liner was seen, then eleven other craft, but the pounding seas and huge waves hid the pinnace. Night came, still with relentless gales.
      Blackout restrictions were in force, and there are two explanations for the seamen seeing light from the shore. Petty Officer Bing saw a red light seven miles away which could have been the Lyme harbour light. The other explanation from J H Taplin, another survivor, was that a sudden bright light shone out three miles off, which may have been from the Assembly Rooms cinema. The machine had broken down and the operator examining it shone the lamp through the window for a second or two.
      The pinnace was first seen at Lyme by Miss Gwen Harding and her parents walking home along Marine Parade after dining out with friends. She glimpsed the outline of a boat, her mother confirmed her suspicions and the alarm was raised. So began the rescue. Of the 71 men in the pinnace, 48 were brought ashore alive, six were found to be dead on arrival, 14 died during the 22 hours the men had fought for survival and were buried at sea, and three died after landing. The Pilot Boat Inn (Mrs. Atkins the landlady took many survivors in. Her dog Lassie drew attention to Seaman Cowan, laid on the floor for dead, by licking his face) became rescue headquarters. Many of the townsfolk brought food and blankets. Others took men into their homes to rest and recuperate, while those needing medical aid were sent to hospital. The dead were placed in the entrance to the cinema, a part of the old Assembly Rooms.
    Person ID I177  Hougham
    Last Modified 15 Nov 2014 

    Father Hougham, Charles Henry
              b. 3 Mar 1842, St Peters Broadstairs Find all individuals with events at this location
              d. 1901, Lambeth Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 58 years) 
    Mother Tuffen, Frances Louisa
              b. 1846
              d. 1877, Lambeth Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 31 years) 
    Married 12 Nov 1865  St Marys Lambeth Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F123  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart