Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

Although he was born and raised in Nottingham, George Henry Matheson is remembered as one of the fallen of Portsmouth because he married a local girl and set up a marital home in the Borough.
George Matheson had joined the Royal Navy in November 1898 at the age of 19 years, probably straight from his home in Nottingham. In 1901 he was serving as a stoker aboard the cruiser HMS Juno and in 1906 he married Leonora (known as Lucy) Long. They were listed as living at 218a Twyford Avenue in 1911 with their two year old daughter Lucy Clarice. At the outbreak of World War 1 he was posted to HMS Attack.
He took part in the Battles of Heligoland, Dogger Bank and Jutland as well as the sinking of U-Boat U12. Later he was engaged on escort and patrol duties in the Mediterranean. On 30th December 1917, near Alexandria, Attack went to the assistance of HMS Aragon which had been torpedoed. Attack took 300-400 survivors from Aragon before being torpedoed herself. Whilst 600 lives were lost from Aragon only 10 sailors from Attack perished. One of those was George Matheson.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists Stoker Petty Officer George Henry Matheson, (290620), Royal Navy, HMS Attack, died on 30/12/1917, aged 39 years. He has no known grave and is remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial (Panel 26). Son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Matheson, of 37, Thurman St., Hyson Green, Nottingham; husband of Lucy Matheson, of 23, Silverlock St., Twyford Avenue, Stamshaw, Portsmouth.
George Matheson is remembered on the St. John the Baptist Church WW1 memorial. The memorial was transferred to St. Agatha's Church, Market Way when St. John's* was declared redundant in 1980. Also remembered on the Cenotaph and in the National Roll, Vol. X, p151.
Tim Backhouse
January 2014

*St. John the Baptist's Church was on Simpson Road, just north of the junction between Twyford Avenue and the Rudmore roundabout. It was converted to private accommodation.