[Skip to content]

  • Family grave and headstone, Redhill Cemetery, commemorating George Henry West. Photograph Peter Gillings.
Person Details
01 Jan 1877
Sherwood Nottingham
George Henry was the son of John and Martha West (formerly Swain/Swaine née Sampson/Samson). His father was born in Ilkeston in 1821, the son of William Barnes and his wife Hannah (née Twells). In 1871 John, a ticket writer, was living in Carrington. Martha Swaine (29), a widow, was also living in Carrington with her two children, Martha (4) b. Durham and George J b. Carrington 1871 (J/F/M). John and Martha were married in 1872 and had two sons, John William b. Carrington 1873 and George Henry b. Sherwood 1 January 1877. John, a ticket writer, and Martha, a laundress, were living at 2 Palm Cottages, Hooley Place, Basford, with Martha's daughter Martha (surname given as 'Lavaine') and their sons John and George. Martha died in 1883 and her widower was still living at 2 Palm Cottages in 1891 with his sons John, a plumber, and George, a stable boy, as well as John senior's widowed sister, Martha Spencer. George's father may have died in 1892. John William married Alice Mary Stephenson in 1893; they had three children, Frank b. 1893, Sidney b. 1895 (KIA 1917) and Amy b. 1898 (d. 1920). In 1901 they were living on Mansfield Street, Hooley Place, but by 1911 had moved to 111 Morley Avenue, Mapperley, Nottingham. The family was still living at the same address when George was killed in 1916. On the night of the 1911 Census, George, who had joined the Royal Navy in January 1896, was serving on the China Station in HMS Fame, a torpedo boat destroyer, which was in Hong Kong Harbour (HMS Tamar).
1891 - stable boy. Was working as a gardener when he joined the Royal Navy in January 1896.
23 Oct 1916
3039059 - CWGC Website
Chief Stoker
Royal Navy
George Henry joined the Royal Navy as a Stoker 2nd Class, on a 12 year Continuous Service Engagement on 13 January 1896. He re-engaged on 13 January 1908 'to completion.' He was appointed Acting Chief Stoker on 1 August 1913 and promoted Chief Stoker 12 months later on 1 August 1914. He served in the following ships and shore establishments: Victory II, 13 January 1896-1 December 1896 (Stoker 2nd Class); HMS Sybilla, 2 December 1896-5 March 1898 (Stoker, 1 July 1897); HMS Camperdown 6 March 1898-4 March 1899, Victory II/Duke of Wellington, 5 March 1899-11 May 1899; HMS Seahorse, 12 May 1899-5 December 1901; Duke of Wellington, 6 December 1901-7 April 1902; HMS Vengeance 8 April 1902-31 March 1905 (Leading Stoker 2nd Class, 19 December 1903), HMS Barfleur, 1 April 1905-9 May 1905; Victory II, 10 May 1905-26 October 1905 (Leading Stoker 1st Class, 1 October 1905); HMS Vernon 27 October 1905-6 May 1907 (Stoker PO, 1 July 1906); HMS Drake, 7 May 1907-26 July 1909; Victory II, 27 July 1909-12 August 1909; HMS Hecla, 13 August 1909-30 January 1911; HMS Crescent, 31 January 1911-31 March 1911; HMS Tamar, 1 April 1911-31 March 1913; HMS Royal Arthur, 1 April 1913-31 May 1913; Victory II, 1 June 1913-8 October 1913 (Acting Chief Stoker, 1 August 1913); HMS Vernon, 9 October 1913-11 November 1914 (Chief Stoker, 1 August 1914); Victory II, 12 November 1914-8 September 1915; HMS Terrible 9 September 1915-26 January 1916; Victory II, 27 January 1916-7 April 1916; HMS Genista, 8 April 1916-20 May 1916; HMS Colleen (Genista), 21 May 1916-23 October 1916. His service record was annotated ‘NP 7471/16. DD [Discharged Dead] 23 October 1916 Lost in HMS Genista.’ His last ship, HMS Genista (Lt Cdr John White, command 22 March 1916-23 October 1916, previously HMS Africa), was an Arabis-class minesweeping sloop built by Napier & Milleron for the Royal Navy and commissioned in February 1916. HMS Genista was engaged in minesweeping operations off the west coast of Ireland when on 23 October 1916 she was sunk by German submarine U-57 (Kapitanleutnant Carl-Siegfried Ritter von Georg, command July 1916-December 1917). HMS Genista sank rapidly, and of her complement of officers and ratings only 12 ratings were rescued. Casualty figures vary slightly but a record at The National Archives, Kew, records 73 lives lost. By the end of the war, U-57 had sunk 57 ships including one warship (HMS Genista) and damaged five. George's body was not recovered for burial and his name is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.
George's nephew, Sidney, the son of John William West, served in the 3rd Battalion Grenadier Guars (21295 Private) and was killed in action on 20 September 1917 aged 22. He was buried in Cement House Cemetery, Belgium. (See record on this Roll of Honour.) Family headstone inscription: 'Also of GH West CPO RN killed in action at sea Oct. 23rd 1915 aged 39 years.' George's next of kin was his brother John William West of 111 Morley Ave, Mapperley, Nottingham. Probate: West George Henry of 111 Morley-avenue Mapperley Nottinghamshire chief-stoker RN died 23 October 1916 at sea Administration Nottingham 16 February to John William West plumber. Effects £221 8s. 7d.
Remembered on


  • Family grave and headstone, Redhill Cemetery, commemorating George Henry West. Photograph Peter Gillings.
    George Henry West - Family grave and headstone, Redhill Cemetery, commemorating George Henry West. Photograph Peter Gillings.
  • Sunk by German submarine, 23 October 1916.
    HMS Genista - Sunk by German submarine, 23 October 1916.
  • Commemorated on Portsmouth Naval Memorial. (www.cwgc.org)
    George Henry West - Commemorated on Portsmouth Naval Memorial. (www.cwgc.org)