Private G.T. West Service number Ch/13569
Regiment Royal Marine Light Infantry
Date of birth 24th August 1885
Date of death 23rd April 1918
Age at death 32 years
Private George Thomas West is unique among the service personnel buried in Tower Hamlets Cemetery because he is the only one to have died in action. George enlisted in the Royal Marines in 1902 in the Chatham Division. He was ‘underage’ until the 23rd August of the following year.
As well as serving at shore bases in England, such as HMS Pembroke at Chatham, George served on seven different vessels, sometimes for only a few months. At the time of the outbreak of the War, George was serving on HMS Implacable. In March 1915, George embarked for the Dardanelles where the Implacable supported the main allied landings at Cape Helles. George arrived in Singapore on February 17th 1916 and back at Devonport on 17th February 1917. He now experienced the opposite end of the Naval experience, as he served on a depot ship with the British North Russian Squadron, patrolling the White Sea. On 23rd April 1918 the Intrepid was involved in the Zeebrugge Raid when she was deliberately sunk at the entrance to the Bruges Canal to try and prevent it being used by German U-Boats. George’s body was returned to England and buried in Tower Hamlets Cemetery on 2nd May 1918. George left behind a widow, Elizabeth.
Details of George Thomas West’s life and family are available in our publication “Hidden Histories”.