Geoffrey David Berney
Supply Assistant, H.M.S. Barham
Service number: P/DX 86(V)
Died 25 Nov 1941
Commemorated on Portsmouth Naval Memorial
Geoffrey was born on 23 July 1921 in Portsmouth, Hampshire to Portsmouth born father Maurice (Moses) and Norwich born mother Lily nee Pogowitz and he had an older brother Harry who served in the Royal Air Force during the war. The family surname was changed from Bernstein to Berney. When the boys were young their father ran a cycle factory in Portsmouth and in later life, he was a company director of a building company. He was a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy and was Commanding Officer of the Portsmouth Sea Cadets.
Geoffrey joined the Navy and was a stores assistant on HMS Barham which operated in the Mediterranean. On November 25, 1941, the ship was carrying out exercises off the Egyptian coast. The force consisted of the ships Barham, Queen Elisabeth and Valiant which had left Alexandria to cover an air operation against an Italian convoy. U-boat U-331was sighted from Valiant at a distance of 700 yards. She fired three torpedoes at Barham, all of which appeared to strike. The battleship rolled over on her side and sank in five minutes, her magazines causing an enormous explosion as she went down. 848 men were killed including Geoffrey.