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Vice-Admiral West, who was he?


museumtom
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I came across a report of a Vice-Admiral West who was killed in the Dardanelles, but I cannot find him as I dont know his full name, can you help me please. The report is from August, 1915.

Thanking you most sincerely in advance.

Tom.

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That Rank/name combination doesn't show on the CWGC database. The Vice Admirals that are listed are Henderson (died Jun 18) and Warrender (died Jan 17).

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I tried that too without a result Gareth. Thanks for trying anyway.

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Tom,

I have the April 1916 Navy List open in front of me with the list of the Officers and Men Killed in Action as reported up to March 1916, but although it includes Rear Admiral Sir Christopher Cradock (Nov 14) there are no other admirals.

My version of the internet isn't playing, and the 1915 volume is on a shelf too high for me to reach, but the Navy Lists have been digitised and can be found on http://archive.org - if you type Navy List 1915 in the search box something should come up. I suggest choosing the July volume - click on the "Read Online" option and then on the right-hand page to leaf through. "Admirals, List of" should be somewhere around p.150, and then you'll be able to find out if there actually was a V-Adm. West.

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Thanks all, still elusive, perhaps he did not die after all?

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The highest ranking West that I can spot in Naval-History.net's list of RN casualties of WWI is Temporary Commander Charles S. West RNVR, who was killed in France on 30 December 1917 whilst serving with the Royal Naval Division, so is clearly not the answer.

Could Vice Admiral West have had a double or multi barrelled name, but ordinarily used only the last part of it? Admiral Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax usually called himself just Drax, as does his grandson, Richard Drax MP.

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Well, I'm baffled. I've now been able to have a look at the 1915 Navy List for January, and there is no Admiral (at any level) West at all, whether double-barrelled or otherwise. Nor is there anyone of the next rank down who might have been promoted Vice-Admiral during the year.

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Thanks SeaJane, if you could not find him, what chance would I have?

Thank you for all your help.

Kind regards.

Tom.

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Well, the only things that occur to me are ... not in the Royal Navy ... but in the Mercantile Marine? In another country's navy? (I suppose the cutting is definitely Great War vintage?)

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I suppose he could be in another Navy. The cutting if from August, 1915.

Thanks SeaJane.

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A 'Vice-Admiral' was the master of a fishing fleet, so I suspect he was leader of the civilian manned mine-sweeping trawlers and possibly lost on one of the vessels sunk during the sweeping operations

Dave

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On an off-chance I have just checked O'More Creagh and Humphris' DSO book in case any suitable matelots were there, and I'm afraid the answer's no.

Jane: any point going back a few years to find any retired Vice Admiral Wests, in case he died as a civilian in some way?

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The Navy List printed the Retired List in the same volumes, so I'll check. Hold the line!

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I wonder if Dave's nailed it, though. Sounds plausible.

Incidentally, I like West fils comment at the end. :whistle:

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No, not on the RN retired list. Nothing in the Times Digital Archive either. If Dave's hypothesis is right, would Lloyd's Register have names?

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A 'Vice-Admiral' was the master of a fishing fleet, so I suspect he was leader of the civilian manned mine-sweeping trawlers and possibly lost on one of the vessels sunk during the sweeping operations

Dave

The list of WWI RN deaths has a very plausible one:

"WEST, James, Trimmer, MMR, (service number not listed), Ramsey, 8 August 1915, ship lost" - however, on examination, Ramsey was sunk in the North Sea.

There's another August, "WEST, Arthur H, Able Seaman (RFR B 6070), 181486 (Ch), India, 8 August 1915, ship lost" again looks possible, but India was sunk off Norway.

Some other possibles from July and earlier

Two RND men: "WEST, William H, Private, RMLI, 18847 (Ch), Deal Battalion, RND, 28 June 1915, Gallipoli, DOW in Alexandria"; "WEST, Christopher, Able Seaman, RNVR, Tyneside Z 1323, Hawke Battalion, RND, 21 July 1915, Gallipoli"

And two on Goliath: "WEST, Henry J, Chief Armourer, 130794 (Dev), Goliath, 13 May 1915, ship lost"; "WEST, Joseph, Petty Officer 2c (RFR B 96), 102017 (Dev), Goliath, 13 May 1915, ship lost"

Goliath would have had a large proportion of reservists, so an older man in the Fleet Reserve being aboard seems quite plausible. RND seems a bit less likely.

In which case... is it PO Joseph West?

Andrew.

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A mystery wrapped up in an enigma, thanks everyone for your thoughts and help.

Kind regards.

Tom.

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Is there any other indication as to the son's name? That might be your way to establishing the father's identity and ultimately the truth behind this story.

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Not a schniff of either first name. I also looked at all the Wests in the Kerry Census for any seafaring connection without success.

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A reference in Hansard dated March 1914 states that the Ardfert district Pensions Officers lived in Tralee and their official address was 'Custom House, Tralee'. That would appear to narrow the search for the son. The newspaper report doesn't indicate that the father was directly connected with Ardfert.

To complicate matters, the fact that the father was described as Vice-Admiral might not necessarily indicate that he was serving in this rank, or even in Naval service, in 1915.

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