George Thomas MacDonald Symons was born in Weymouth, Dorset, England on 23 February 1888. He was the son of Robert James Symons (1867-1939), a steamship fireman, and Bessie Newman (1868-1933). Both his parents hailed from Dorset and had married in Weymouth in 1887.
George was one of thirteen children, one of whom died in infancy. His known siblings were: John (b. 1889), Bessie (b. 1891), Mabel (b. 1893), Florence (b. 1895), Robert James (b. 1897), Phillis May (b. 1899), Alice Irene (b. 1901), Walter Henry (b. 1906), Violet Hildegard (b. 1907), Sadie (b. 1909) and William Arthur (b. 1911).
George first appears on the 1891 census when he and his family were living at Beleris (?) Lane, Melcombe Regis, Weymouth. He and his family were living at 5 Hartlebury Row, Weymouth by the time of the 1901 census. By the time of the 1911 census George was still at home with his family, now living at 55 Franchise Street, Weymouth and he was described as a seaman.
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 6 April 1912, George gave his address as 55 Fanshaw Street, (Southampton). His last ship had been the Oceanic. As a Lookout he received monthly wages of £5.
George survived the sinking, escaping in the controversial Emergency Lifeboat 1 which carried only twelve occupants and of which he was put in command.
Titanic lookout George Symons in c.1921
(National Archives, courtesy of Michael Poirier)
George returned to England and continued to work at sea. He was married in Weymouth towards the end of 1912 to Mary Jane Bolt (b. 1890 in Weymouth) and settled in Southampton. The couple had two daughters, Dorothy May (b. 1915) and Joan (b. 1918).
George and his family later lived at 6 Morland Road, Shirley. He died on 3 December 1950. He is buried at Hollybrook Cemetery, Southampton (section A6, plot 71). His widow passed away on 12 September 1956.
Both George's daughters died in Southampton, his daughter Dorothy (later Mrs Stanley Pearce) in 2006 and his is daughter Joan (later Mrs Norris Massey) in 2004.