Date of Birth : 1892
Place of Birth: Southampton
Date of Marriage: 1915
Place of Marriage: Southampton.
Rating: Assistant Cook
Service: Royal Navy
Ship: HMHS Asturias
Death Location: Off Devon Coast.
Life Before the War
In the census of 1891 his parents were living at 13 Kent Road Millbrook. Southampton, his father Herbert was a forage dealer, he was born in
Millbrook, his mother Sarah was born in Stocksbridge.
Herbert married Eliza Jane Baker (b 1891) on 30 August 1915 at St Mary’s Church Southampton. They had one son, Herbert (b 1917). Eliza died in 1964 in Southampton.
The address given for his wife Sarah on his death was “Homestead”.Cobbett Road. Southampton.
Herbert had volunteered for war service in August 1914 and became First Assistant Cook on His Majesty’s Hospital Ship ‘Asturias’.
The Asturias was a Royal Mail Steam Packet vessel on the Southampton to Argentina route. During World War One she became a hospital ship bringing the British wounded soldiers back from France and other Mediterranean theatres of war.
On Tuesday 20 March 1917 HMHS Asturias docked at Avonmouth. After the patients had disembarked she was making her way back to her home port of Southampton, where most of her crew lived, via Cornwall, 5 miles off Start Point, around midnight the U20 submarine fired two torpedoes – first hitting the rudder and exploding in the engine room. The ship was abandoned with 82 of the crew being either killed in the explosion, while others were drowned when two life boats smashed together while being launched.
Survivors were taken to Devon, the Asturias was beached at Salcombe and later towed to Portsmouth.
The National Roll of the Great War reported:- ” Kimber H.G. 1st Assistant Cook Merchant Service. He volunteered in August 1914 and served on H.M.H.S Asturias on the high seas. This vessel was engaged in conveying the wounded home from eastern theatres of war. he was on board when she was torpedoed on March 21st 1917 and was drowned. He was entitled to the General Service and Mercantile Marine Medals. 115 oxford Avenue Southampton.”
Herbert was entitled to the General Service and the Mercantile Marine War Medals.
He is interred in grave 173, sector F191 at Southampton Old Cemetery and also commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial.
Researched by Robert Whale May 2014.