Frederick Edmund West

Rank Mechanic 1st Class
Service No 211357
Date of Death 22/10/1918
Age 28
Regiment/Service Royal Air Force
Cemetery Hendon Cemetery and Crematorium

Frederick Edmund West was born in Stoke D’Abernon, Surrey on 24th April 1890. He was baptised at St Mary’s Church, Stoke D’Abernon on 25th May. His parents were Henry William (labourer) and Mary West.  Frederick had four older siblings, William (b.1878), James (b.1881), Lily (b.1884) and Henry (b.1889).

Upon leaving school, Frederick found employment as a plumber. He married Jessie in 1908 and had a son, Frederick Charles (b.1910) whereupon he moved to Squires Lane, Finchley. His daughter, Phyllis was born on 30th May 1918, a few months before he died.

On 4th February 1916 Frederick was based at President II, a shore-based unit of the Royal Navy in Felixstowe. He was a member of the Royal Naval Air Service and transferred to the RAF on its creation on 1st April 1918. At the start of September 1918 he was based at RAF Fortune, some 20 miles east of Edinburgh. This base was a depot for ship-based planes and a training school for pilots stationed with a battle cruiser squadron at Rosyth. On 15th September Frederick transferred to HMS Argus, a passenger ship which had been converted into an aircraft carrier. The carrier was trying out deck-landing trials with longitudinal arresting gear with the first such landing taking place by a Sopwith Ship Strutter on 1st October. 

Frederick died on HM Hospital Ship Garth Castle to which he was transferred. His cause of death was influenza and bronchial pneumonia.Tragically, his older brother, Henry, died in Canada on 11th November 1918, on Armistice Day, just three weeks later.