George De Lara Honeycott

Date of birth: 1889
Place of birth: Southampton
Regiment / Division: Mercantile Marine
Vessel: HMHS Britannic
Rank / Service No: Seaman (Look-out man)
Died: 21st November 1916, aged 27 years
Buried: Piraeus Naval & Consular Cemetery, Greece

 

George was the sixth of 9 siblings born to Samuel and Catherine Honeycott (nee Delara), who married in Weymouth in 1879.

 

Samuel was born on 16 December 1850 in Southampton, and he died in the city in 1905.

Catherine was born on 26 June 1859 in Weymouth and she married a William Lock in Southampton in 1912.

 

She passed away in the city in 1921.

 

There is evidence that shows the family may not have been well-off. Catherine was taken to court, having stolen a pair of boots from a shoe shop in Bedford Place.

On 1 December 1894, she was fined 5 shillings…..the fine was paid by the Reverend Father Rivara on her behalf.

 

Siblings 

Alice Rosina   b. 1880 Dorchester   d. 1953 Southampton   Married William James Gurd in Southampton in 1903.

Samuel Andrew   b. 22 October 1881 Southampton   d. 1962 Southampton   Married Ellen Maria Patience in Southampton in 1903.

Samuel was living with his parents at the 1911 Census….his wife and daughter were living with her parents.

 

Beatrice Catherine    b. 1883 Southampton   d. 1966 Winchester   Married Henry Anteney in Fulham in 1902.

Hilda Agnes   b. 1885 Southampton   d. 1953 Portsmouth   Married George Paddon in Shirley in 1904.

Victoria ADA   b. 1887 Southampton   d. ??   Married Joseph Goodman in Southampton in 1919. Married Christopher W. Lowe in Southwark in 1928.

George De Lara 

Ethel Freda   b. 1890 Southampton   d. 1983 Honiton   Married Stanley G. Tunbridge in Southampton in 1916. Married Reuben J. Crane in Wandsworth in 1938.

Amy Mary   b. 1891 Southampton   d. 1937 New Forest   Married Claude Lott in Southampton in 1912.

Andrew   b. 1894 Southampton  d. 1894 Southampton

 

George married Alice Martin in Southampton in 1913. Alice was born in Southampton in 1889 and the couple had 1 daughter….

 

Kathleen M   b. 1915 Southampton   d. 1945 East Ham   Married Alfred J. Baker in Essex in 1939.

 

After George’s death, Alice married Joseph Young in 1921 in West Ham.

Alice passed away in 1980, aged 90 years, in Wandsworth.

 

 

George chose to serve on a quite famous vessel. Britannic was the younger sister ship of White Star’s Olympic and Titanic.

 

The Titanic story is well-known, but Olympic was involved in a collision with the Royal Navy’s Hawk in the Solent in September 1911.

She made it back into Southampton under her own steam, was repaired and had a long and illustrious career.

 

Two fellow crew members of George’s worked on all 3 vessels….John Priest (a fireman) and Violet Jessop (a stewardess), who wrote her memoirs.

 

Britannic was requisitioned by the Navy and turned into a hospital ship. She was used to transport sick and wounded soldiers back from Gallipoli, with full hospital facilities on board.

After five successful return voyages, Britannic departed from Southampton for Lemnos on 12 November 1916. She arrived at Naples on 17 November, for her usual coaling and water refuelling stop.

 

A storm kept the ship in Naples for an extra 24 hours but on 21 November she was full-steam ahead between Cape Sounion and the edge of Athens, with a total of 1066 people aboard.

At 08.21 a large explosion shook the ship. A hole was evident on the starboard side, located between holds 2 & 3.

 

In no time, the vessel began to list and water was pouring in through open bulkheads and portholes (open to get air to the patients).

Lifeboats were ordered to be prepared, but 2 of them were lowered at 08.30 before the order was given. At the same time, the front of the ship had started to drop as the weight of water at the front increased.

This caused the propellers to be come visible and they were still revolving….the Captain had considered trying to beach the vessel.

 

The 2 lifeboats were dragged into the propellers, with inevitable consequences. Violet Jessop was by now in another lifeboat close behind, and witnessed the carnage.

55 minutes after the explosion, Britannic disappeared below the waves.

 

Only 30 men lost their lives in the disaster, and George is one of only 5 who were buried. Many vessels, both British and local, came to the rescue of the 1036 survivvors.

 

It is not known whether Britannic was torpedoed or hit a mine, which were known to be in the area.

Subsequent dives have been unable to prove or disprove either theory.
 

 

Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 30th September 2016
Updated:

 

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