George Douglas Jephson

George Douglas Jephson was the younger son of our rector, Rev. Henry Jephson, and his wife Jane, who were married in London in 1872 – the year of his appointment as rector. George was born across the road from St Peter’s church, in what was then the rectory and is now called the Old Rectory.

George’s birth date is a bit confusing. He was baptised by his father in St Peter’s church on 19 March 1876 but his father did not note George’s date of birth in the baptismal register (as he did with his other three children). George’s Royal Navy service records (available online at the website FindMyPast) give his birth date as 18 January 1876. Strangely, a birth announcement in the Herts Advertiser of 22 January 1876 gave a date of 18 February (clearly an error) but the Aberdeen Press and Journal of 26 January 1876 got the right date – 18 January 1876. As will be seen later, there was also some confusion over his age at death. George never married.

Unlike all the other men named on the War Memorial George was a regular, an officer and in the Royal Navy. He joined the service as a naval cadet on 15 January 1890 at the age of 14 and received his training at the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. By 1901 he was a lieutenant on board the cruiser Niobe, based at Gibraltar. He was appointed commander on 31 December 1909 and in 1911 was on board the cruiser Challenger, based at Sydney. Later he served in the Persian Gulf. In September 1913 the cruiser Dartmouth was recommissioned at Devonport with commander Jephson as her second-in-command. His ship was engaged at the Dardenelles in 1915 but by 1916 was based at Brindisi.

George Jephson died of natural causes in a convalescent home at Nice on Monday 7 February 1916 aged 40 (having been put ashore from the Dartmouth) and is buried at Nice (Caucade) Communal Cemetery. George is also commemorated on his parents’ memorial in the old churchyard.

The following pictures show his grave in the south of France, both these stones give his age as 41, whereas the Ayot memorial gives 40.

Two views of Commander Jephson’s grave, both taken in November 2017 and available on the useful website www.findagrave.com
Cimetière Caucade (“Communal Cemetery”), Nice, Departement des Alpes-Maritimes, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, France