Yorker George B. Hoffman killed with sinking of U.S.S. President Lincoln

Memorial Plaque exhibited in the main lobby of the Navy Building, on Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C. (Photo taken in late 1920s or early 1930s; Library of Congress)

Memorial Plaque exhibited in the main lobby of the Navy Building, on Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C. (Photo taken in late 1920s or early 1930s; Library of Congress)

Text on this memorial plaque is, “In Memory of the men who gave their lives when the U.S.S. President Lincoln was sunk in an engagement with the German submarine U-90, May 31, 1918.” Yorker George B. Hoffman is among the men listed on this WWI Memorial; that hung in the main lobby of the Navy Building on Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C. up until the building of the Pentagon during WWII. If you are reading this on the Ydr.com site, click on this LINK for a Full View of the illustrations in this post on the original YorkBlog site; since the ydr.com site will occasionally cut off important details in the cropping of illustrations.

In 2014, I posted Searching for Photo of WWI Veteran George B. Hoffman for submission to U.S.S. President Lincoln memorial site. That post used some family history research to track down potential holders of such a photo. For example I learned, Michael B. Hoffman, George’s father, outlived his second wife, therefore any photo of George B. Hoffman possibly was passed down to his children: Melissa E., married to Walter W. Matchett and living in Harrisburg; Charles J. Hoffman, residing in Ridley Park, PA; and Ruth Naomi Hoffman, residing in Ridley Park, PA.

Another possible source of a George B. Hoffman photo is through his stepbrother Alfred Harman Billet, who resided in York, PA and was a long time wallpaper printer; initially at York Wall Paper in York and then at J. C. Eisenhart in Hanover. Alfred died in 1940; survivors were his wife Nancy A. Billet of Hanover, and two brothers, Luther of Norristown and Jacob of 223 North Richland Ave., York. Alfred’s widow Nancy died in 1952; no survivors were listed in her obituary although her pallbearers were John Billet, George H. Billet, Norman E. Billet and Israel J. Billet.

I learned the reason George B. Hoffman moved to York from Harrisburg. This was a move with his father Michael, during the last half of 1910 when George was 10-years-old, when his father got a job in the Boiler Shop of the York Manufacturing Company. George likely started his job at the plant of the American Chain Company prior to his father and stepmother, Mr. And Mrs. Michael Hoffman, moving to Ridley Park, Delaware County; possibly in 1916 or early 1917. George B. Hoffman decided to keep his job at American Chain, and stay in York, living with his stepbrother, Albert Billet.

Deb Stevens provided the source for a photo of George B. Hoffman. The photo comes from page 108 of the publication: York County and the World War: Being a War History of York and York County, and a record of the services rendered to their country by the people of this community; Compiled, Edited and Published by Clifford J. Hall and John P. Lehn, during about 1920. The following photo of George B. Hoffman is from the York County Heritage Trust copy of that publication. A copy of the photo been submitted to U.S.S. President Lincoln memorial site.

George B. Hoffman, Killed in Action May 31, 1918, with the sinking of the U.S.S. President Lincoln (Photo from Hall & Lehn Publication, Page 108; York County Heritage Trust)

George B. Hoffman, Killed in Action May 31, 1918, with the sinking of the U.S.S. President Lincoln (Photo from Hall & Lehn Publication, Page 108; York County Heritage Trust)

Page 109 of the Hall & Lehn publication contains the following descriptive paragraph about George B. Hoffman:

Seaman Hoffman was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Michael B. Hoffman of York. He enlisted at the age of 17 years in York, June 18, 1917. He was sent to Newport, R.I., where he received his preliminary training. In December of that year, he was assigned to the ill-fated ship President Lincoln as a seaman. He was returning from his fourth trip across when his ship was sunk by a German submarine. Prior to his enlistment he was employed by the American Chain Co. and lived with his stepbrother Mr. Alfred H. Billet. He was a member of the West Street Methodist Episcopal Church.

Related posts include:

Reading the HEADLINES; A Quick Index to ALL YorksPast Posts

About Stephen H. Smith

Stephen H. Smith is a design engineer who worked at York International Corp. for 33 years before retiring several years ago to research and write books full time; his second career. The initial emphasis was on family history when he won a national award during 2002 for his first book “Barshingers in America." Positive feedback and that award were influential in his decision to retire early from engineering and start a retirement career.
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