Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

Sometime between 1911 and 1914 George Henry exchanged his civilian job as a hotel waiter to that of Assistant Ship's Steward in the Royal Navy. It must have seemed like a natural progression for George Henry who came from a family that was lately well versed in the needs of the catering industry - his father John Thomas Vine being a storekeeper at a restaurant and his brother Roger another waiter.
The Vine family had not arrived in Portsmouth until the 1880s when John Thomas moved to the Borough from his birthplace at Hailsham, Sussex. Soon after, he married Margaret Madden, who had been born in County Cork, Ireland in 1861, and the couple settled down in the town.
The 1891 census lists John and Margaret at a house on Surrey Street, off Commercial Road. John was then described as a railway clerk which was well enough paid to allow the couple to employ a live-in servant. By 1901 however they had moved to 1-3 Fratton Road, where they ran a refreshment house, and started a family of three boys - William John (b. 1892), Roger Thomas (b. 1894) and George Henry (b. 1895). In the 1900s the family moved to Shadwell Road, North End and John Thomas, Roger and George all moved into the catering business.
It's known that George Henry joined the Royal Navy before the outbreak of the Great War but all that is currently known of his subsequent career is that he was serving on board HMS Invincible when the ship steamed into action at the Battle of Jutland. At six-thiry on the evening of the 31st May 1916 with the battle in full flow a shell hit Q turret and burst inside blowing the turret roof into the air. Seconds later a huge explosion amidships blew the Invincible in half. The two ends of the ship remained sticking out of the water for several hours before they sank. Six of her crew survived and were rescued by HMS Badger. 1,026 men, including George Vine, died, more than 130 of them from Portsmouth.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) list George Henry Vine, Ship's Steward Assistant (346157), Royal Navy, HMS Invincible, died 31/05/1916. Commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial (Panel 20).
George Vine is also commemorated on the Buckland United Reformed Church WW1 Memorial but not on the Cenotaph. He is not listed in "The National Roll of the Great War", Section X.
Tim Backhouse
December 2014