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  • Photograph published in the Nottingham Evening Post, 21st July 1916.  Courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
Person Details
22 May 1894
George William Chamberlain was born in Nottingham on 22 May 1894, the son of George Chamberlain and his wife Alice (formerly Spencer). George and Alice, a widow, were married at Nottingham St Paul in June 1893. Alice Spencer's first name was given as Euprisa on the marriage record and although similar names occurred on other records - 'Euptina' on the 1881 Census and 'Emparise' on the 1901 Census - she was more commonly known as Alice and this was the name given on the death registration. Alice married first Charles Spencer (b. Retford Notts. abt. 1851), although the record of marriage has not yet been traced, and they had at least three children: Arthur b. Beverley Yorkshire 1880 (reg. J/F/M), Frederick b. Nottingham 1885 and Eliza Ann b. Nottingham 1888 bap. Nottingham St John September 1888 d. 1888. Two of the birth registrations gave the mother's maiden name as 'Case'. The Spencers were living in Beverley in 1881 but had moved to Nottingham by the time of Frederick's birth in 1885. They were living at 2 Fleet Place, Narrow Marsh, when their daughter, Eliza, was born in 1888. Charles died in 1890 and in 1891 his widow Alice (37), a deputy of a lodging house, and her two sons, Arthur (11) and Frederick (5), were living at 105 Narrow Marsh. Also in the household was a woman whose occupation was given as domestic servant although she was probably a lodger. This was an area of dense, overcrowded dwellings, many of which were lodging houses including, for example, 107 Narrow Marsh which had ten lodgers. Alice married George Chamberlain (b. Nottingham abt. 1853) two years later and in 1901 she and her husband, a lace warper, their son George William and her son Frederick, were living at the Lodging House, 4 Fleet Place. The Chamberlains were described as lodgers, and the household included nine male lodgers, all but one unmarried. Frederick Spencer made two applications to join the Militia (4th Bn Notts & Derby Regiment), the first in February 1901 (No. 8893) when he was 17 years 4 months old and a collier at Clifton Colliery. He was then living at 4 Fleet Place. His application was unsuccessful and he reapplied on 7 July the following year by which time he was employed as a labourer by a rope maker on Leen Side, Nottingham. Arthur was living at 32 Nelson's Yard, Poplar, Sneinton, in 1902 and named his mother Alice, of the same address, and brother Arthur of Foundry Yard, Leen Side, as his next of kin. This application was probably also unsuccessful. Alice died in Nottingham in 1909 aged about 56. George William joined the Royal Navy as a Boy Seaman the following year and and at the time of the 1911 census was still under training at HMS Ganges, Suffolk. His father George, a warper (lace trade), was recorded on the census as an inmate at the Nottingham Workhouse, Bagthorpe, Bulwell. George snr. died in Nottingham in 1915 aged about 65. The notice in the local paper of George William's death at Jutland in 1916 gave his address as 31 Woodland Street, Sneinton. The RN record shows that the name of the person to be informed of George William's death was his fiancee (described as a friend), May Swift, of 6 Drake Street, off Platt Street, Nottingham. May (b.1896) was the daughter of John and Elizabeth Swift, and was living at 6 Drake Street in 1911; she was working as a laundress. Another Naval record named a 'Mrs Higgs' to be notified of his death in addition to a 'friend' [May Swift].
He was a French polisher when he joined the Royal Navy in 1910. In 1911 he was a Boy 2nd Class serving in HMS Ganges, the Royal Navy's Training Establishment at Shotley, near Ipswich, Suffolk.
31 May 1916
2876097 - CWGC Website
Able Seaman
HMS Nomad Royal Navy
George joined the Royal Navy on 8 October 1910 when he was 16 years old and signed on for 12 years at the age of 18 on 22 May 1912. He served in the following ships and shore establishments: HMS Ganges 8 October 1910-5 June 1911 (Boy 2nd Class, Boy 1st Class 17 May 1911); HMS Essex 6 June 1911-20 September 1911; HMS Victory 21 September 1911-1 October 1911; HMS Arrogant 2 October 1911-29 November 1911; HMS Drake 30 November 1911-12 March 1913 (Ordinary Seaman 22 March 1912, Able Seaman 23 February 1913), HMS Victory 13 March-31 March 1913; HMS Revenge 1 April 1913-14 May 1913; HMS Albermarle 15 May 1913-10 January 1914; HMS Vernon 11 January 1914-4 April 1914; Woolwich 5 April 1914-31 March 1916; HMS Nomad 1 April 1916-31 May 1916. George was killed while serving in HMS Nomad at the Battle of Jutland. His body was not recovered for burial and he is commemorated on the Portsmouth War Memorial. HMS Nomad (Lieutenant Commander Paul Whitfield RN) was a destroyer of the 13th Destroyer Flotilla (Captain JU Farie RN). The Flotilla was at the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916 and HMS Nomad and HMS Nestor, both of the 13th Flotilla, were disabled by gunfire early in the battle and were eventually sunk by the battleships of the German High Seas Fleet. There were few survivors; Nomad 72, Nestor 80, including the captains of both ships. The captain of HMS Nestor, Cdr the Hon EBS Bingham, was awarded the VC. Survivors were taken prisoner and there may initially have been some doubt about George's death as an undated note on his record, which was crossed through, read, ‘Prisoner of War in Germany after action on 31 May-1 June 1916’.
Nottingham Evening Post, 21 July 1916, photograph with caption: 'GW Chamberlain, went down with HMS Nomad on May 31st, aged 22, 31, Woodland St., Sneinton.' Nottingham Evening Post, 'In memoriam', 31st May 1917:- “CHAMBERLAIN. – In loving memory of George William Chamberlain, drowned in the Jutland Battle May 31st,1916, H.M.S. Nomad. His toil is passed, his work is done, and he is fully blessed. He fought the fight, the victory won, and entered into rest but the hardest part is yet to come, when the heroes all return, and I miss among the cheering crowds the face of my dear one. – From his fiancée May.” Above courtesy of Jim Grundy; facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
Remembered on


  • Photograph published in the Nottingham Evening Post, 21st July 1916.  Courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
    George William Chamberlain - Photograph published in the Nottingham Evening Post, 21st July 1916. Courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
  • Commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.(www.cwgc.org)
    George William Chamberlain - Commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.(www.cwgc.org)