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Leading Seaman 221318 George Thomas Paston

Royal Navy aboard HMS Princess Irene
Killed in Explosion, Medway Estuary, Kent, 27th May 1915, aged 28

  • Commemorated: Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent, England. Panel 9
  • Awarded: 1914/15 Star, British War & Victory medals
  • Son of Thomas and Ellen Paston of 10 Abbey Green, Nuneaton
  • Husband of Georgina Paston [nee Hopkins]. Married Dec Qtr 1913 in Sheppey, Kent
  • Father of George William Henry Paston, b1914
  • NNWFHS Memorial: Nuneaton WW1 Addendum

Links to Relevant Information

1911 Census, Family History and Military Service Information

  • Born 2 Oct 1886 in Leicester
  • Lived at Pool Bank Street, Nuneaton [1891]
  • Lived at 33 Higher West Street, Pendleton, Lancs [1901]
  • Employed as a Bricksetter [1902]
  • Lived at 7 Cross Street, Chatham, Kent
  • Enlisted on 18 Jul 1902 at Chatham

    The Loss of HMS Princess Irene

    In May 1915, Princess Irene was moored in Saltpan Reach, on the Medway Estuary in Kent between Port Victoria and Sheerness, being loaded with mines in preparation for deployment on a minelaying mission. At 11:14 GMT on 27 May, Princess Irene exploded and disintegrated. A column of flame 300 feet (100 m) high was followed a few seconds later by another of similar height and a pall of smoke hung over the spot where Princess Irene had been, reaching to 1,200 feet (400 m). Two barges laying alongside her were also destroyed. The explosion was larger than that which had destroyed HMS Bulwark in the Medway six months earlier, although the loss of life was less. A total of 352 people were killed, including 273 officers and men, and 76 dockyard workers who were on board Princess Irene. On the Isle of Grain a girl of nine was killed by flying débris, and a farmhand died of shock. A collier half a mile (800 m) away had its crane blown off its mountings. A part of one of Princess Irene's boilers landed on the ship; a man working on the ship died from injuries sustained when he was struck by a piece of metal weighing 70 pounds (32 kg).

    Wreckage was flung up to 20 miles (32 km) away, with people near Sittingbourne being injured by flying débris, some of which landed in Bredhurst.A case of butter landed at Rainham, 6 miles (10 km) away. A 10-ton (10,160 kg) section of the ship landed on the Isle of Grain. The Admiralty's oil storage tanks there were damaged. The sole survivor from Princess Irene was a stoker, who suffered severe burns.Three of her crew had a lucky escape as they were ashore at the time

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