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Remembered Today:

Pte Herbert James George ASC

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As Christine, RTpots and Lee do not seem to be on-line tonight, I have jumped in and posted today's name.

CWGC's details...


Initials: H J

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Private

Regiment: Army Service Corps

Unit Text: 605th M.T. Coy.

Age: 34

Date of Death: 08/01/1916

Service No: M2/097515

Additional information: Husband of Edith George, of High St., Brackley, Northants.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: 14. G. 16.


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Why was he buried down there in southern Italy?

Original CWGC register says ‘Drowned as a result of an attack by an enemy submarine’.

No ship is mentioned and there is none listed for that date in “British Vessels Lost at Sea 14-18” – either sunk or attacked.

He is one of three men from 605 MT Coy, ASC buried in Bari War Cemetery. The others lie next to him and are…

Pte F.Parker M2/102884

Pte Thomas Stead M2/118633

All three died on 08.01.16 and there are no other ASC men in the cemetery or any from other units who died on that day. All were originally buried in Brindisi Communal Cemetery and moved to Bari in 1981.

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christine liava'a

Perhaps this event had something to do with it.

The Città di Palermo auxiliary cruiser

near Brindisi 1916

The Città di Palermo was a postal-liner, built in wood and iron at Riva Trigoso during 1910.

At the beginning of the I World War, the Città di Palermo and her sister ships, the Città di Messina and the Città di Sassari, were converted in auxiliary cruisers, and served in escort operations or as fast freighters.

On January 8, 1916, the Città di Palermo collided with a mine off the coast of Brindisi, and sunk rapidly


Italian armed merchant cruiser Citta di Palermo (1052t) mined off Brindisi by mine laid by German UC14; c100 British lost but c100 rescued by drifters. Drifters Freuchny and Morning Star mined during rescue attempts.

Does this imply that approx 200 British men were on board the Citta Di Palermo?

If so, where were they travelling from and to? Why?


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christine liava'a


Births Dec 1881


GEORGE Herbert Alexander J Carlisle 10b 465

GEORGE Herbert James Brackley 3b 6

Although Herbert was born after the 1881 census, a search of the George families in Brackley, Northants reveals only one George family with small children

Dwelling: Antelope Hill

Census Place: Brackley St Peter, Northampton, England

Source: FHL Film 1341369 PRO Ref RG11 Piece 1531 Folio 50 Page 18

Marr Age Sex Birthplace

William GEORGE M 30 M Brackley, Northampton, England

Rel: Head

Occ: Farm Laborer

Sarah Ann GEORGE M 29 F Shotowell, Oxford, England

Rel: Wife

Allen Buler GEORGE 12 M Shotowell, Oxford, England

Rel: Son

Occ: Farm Laborer

Edwin GEORGE 9 M Brackley, Northampton, England

Rel: Son

Occ: Scholar

William GEORGE 7 M Charwelton, Northampton, England

Rel: Son

Occ: Scholar

Walter GEORGE 6 M Charwelton, Northampton, England

Rel: Son

Occ: Scholar

Florence GEORGE 3 F Halse, Northampton, England

Rel: Daur

Occ: Scholar

Harry GEORGE 1 M Upton, Warwick, England

Rel: Son

These may be Herbert's family

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christine liava'a

What does the M2 in his number mean?


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Per Michael Young's history of the ASC

M2 = Mechanical Transport [Enlisted Special Reserve for the New Armies]


Michael D.R.

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The Citta di Palermo certainly seems to be the ship and, being Italian, explains why the event is not listed in "British Vessels Lost at Sea"!

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SDGW shows 61 ORs of the ASC all dying at sea on this day. Were they going out to a 'front' or coming back on leave?

Some of their numbers are quite close together and a quick breakdown of the numbers shows:

M2/ = 51

S2SR/ = 4

S4/ = 5

S5/ = 1

Pte = 53

A/Cpl = 4

A/Sgt = 1

Mech./S. = 1

Staff Sgt = 1

T. SSM = 1

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Apologies all, my post earlier this morning is incorrect

M2 = Mechanical Transport

Private George's number does not include SR so the ref I made to Special Reserve does not apply

S2 (SR) = Supply (Special Reserve)

S4 = Supply (Labour)

All three prefixes are for New Armies [after 20th Nov 1916 the numbers denoting New Armies were dropped and the prefixes became simply the letters denoting the Branch; T (Horse Transport), S (Supply) , M (Mechanical Transport) or R (Remounts)]

S5 does not appear on Young's Annex M ['Supply' 5th New Army?]


Michael D.R.

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The Citta di Palermo was built for the Italian State Railways in 1910.

She left Brindisi on the morning of 8th Jan 1916 with a number of troops for Durazzo, including a British contingent of four officers and 130 OR's. At 0830hrs, when 6 miles off Brindisi, the vessel ran into a small minefield. She struck one of the mines and foundered almost at once. Fortunately a number of minesweepers were in the vicinity and they came to the recue with great promptitude.

The number on board the Citta di Palermo was just over 200, of whom about half were saved including 84 British.

Source: Dictionary of Disasters at Sea 1824-1962, Charles Hocking.

Terry Reeves

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