George Forrest was the son of Joseph and Elizabeth Forrst of Dudley Port, Tipton and was married to Elizabeth of 22 Oakeywell Street, Dudley. He enlisted in the Royal Navy and in 1916 was serving as an Ordinary Seaman in HMS Hampshire. She was an armoured cruiser commissioned in 1905 and had been involved in the hunt for the Emden in the opening months of the war. She was then part of the Scapa Flow force and was present at the great battle of Jutland on the 31st May 1916. She returned to Scapa Flow and was sent immediately on another mission to Russia. This was the highly secret mission of Lord Kitchener, Secretary for War, to negotiate with the Czar to ensure Russia's continuation in the conflict. On the 5th June Hampshire and its destroyer escort left Scapa Flow in a poor weather which developed into a force 9 gale by the time they reached Marwick Head on west Orkney. However, a few days earlier three U-Boats had been lurking off the shore to trap any passing ships and U75 was able to leave 22 mines in the area Hampshire was to sail. In the atrocious weather at 7.40 p.m. the cruiser struck a mine and suffered a devastating explosion under the bows. Within 10 minutes she sank and only a dozen of her crew of 655 were able to reach the shore. Even the bodies of most men were lost, including Able Seaman George Forrest and Lord Kitchener. The wreck lies off Marwick Head today. Able Seaman George Forrest was 37 years of age and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Royal Naval Memorial and on the Dudley Memorial.
Town Hall, Priory Street, Dudley
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