George Henry Eastham

Date of birth: 26th March 1895
Place of birth: Southampton
Regiment / Division: Royal Navy
Vessel: HMS Aeriel
Rank / Service No: Stoker 1st Class, K/30178
Died: 2nd August 1918, aged 23 years
Commemorated: Portsmouth Naval Memorial


George was the fourth of 8 known siblings born to Thomas and Celia Eastham (nee Sweetingham), who married in Southampton in 1885.

The couple had a total of 9 children, so it must be assumed that one died in infancy.

The family lived at 70 English Road, Shirley.


Thomas was born in Southampton in 1861 and died in the city in 1905.

Celia was born in the city in 1866, and she married Frederick Rapson in 1916 after Thomas’ death.

She passed away in Droxford / Bishop’s Waltham in 1942.



Caroline Julia   b. 1886 Southampton   d. ?? Left Southampton bound for South Africa in 1907.

Thomas Charles   b. 23 January 1890 Southampton d. 1943 Southampton Married Annie B. Anteney in New Forest in 1918. Thomas was in the Royal Navy but he “deserted” and was left at HMS Nelson prior to demob.

Rose M.   b. 1891 Southampton   d. 1965 New Forest   Marrried Frances A. Sait in Southampton in 1912.

George Henry

Eliza Emily   b. 1893 Southampton   d. 1893 Southampton

Annie   b. 1902 Southampton   d. 1915 Southampton

Maud   b. 1905 Southampton   d. 2000 Surrey   Married Frederick Puckett in Southampton in 1925.


Ariel was launched in Woolston on 26 September 1911, an Acheron-type destroyer.

George enlisted in the RN on 17 November 1915 in Portsmouth. He joined HMS Ariel on 1 October 1917.

As part of the First Destroyer Flotilla, she was attached to the Grand Fleet in August 1914 and then to the Third Battle Squadron from spring 1916.

Once converted to a minelayer, in 1917, she became part of the 20th Flotilla.


On 10 March 1915, Ariel rammed U-12 off Aberdeen…the submarine subsequently sunk. Ariel suffered damage to her bow and had to be towed into port.

Ariel also destroyed UC-19 in the English Channel on 6 December 1916, this time by using depth charges.


On 2 August 1918, she was mine-laying in Heligoland Bight when here companion ship HMS Vehement struck a mine.

On trying to exit the minefield, and whilst trying to set up to tow Vehement, Ariel lost the whole of the front part of the ship when she too struck a mine.


Ariel sank at 01.00, with the loss of 49 crew.


Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 14th July 2016


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