Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

Able Seaman George Charles Richards was born in 1888 to Henry and Emma Richards, probably at the family home at 33 Lombard Street, Portsmouth. At birth he already had three brothers William, Benjamin and Alfred and would later be joined by three more brothers, Harold, Leonard and Reginald and three sisters, Winifred, Irene and Beatrice. Henry Richards, aged 32 when George Charles was born, was a Ship Broker's Agent, a trade in which he had been engaged all his working life.
With twelve persons living at home it is hardly suprising that George Charles left to join the Royal Navy. We don't know exactly when this was but we do know that at the 1911 Census he was serving as an AB aboard HMS Illustrious, then berthed at Portland. By November 1914 George had been transferred to HMS Bulwark.
At 7.50am on 26th November 1914 a powerful explosion ripped through HMS Bulwark as she was moored west of Sheerness in the River Medway. The blast was believed to have originated in the after magazine. Only 14 ordinary sailors survived the accident out of a total complement of 750, many of whom were from Portsmouth.
Further Information
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records Able Seaman George Charles Richards (229696), age 27 years, date of death 26/11/1914, serving aboard HMS Bulwark. Remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial (Panel 2)
George Richards is also remembered on the grave of his father in Highland Road Cemetery and on the WW1 memorial outside St. Thomas's Church and the Cenotaph. He is not commemorated in the National Roll of the Great War (Section 10).
Tim Backhouse
December 2013

To Cynthia Sherwood for her research