Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

The grandparents of Henry Thomas moved into Portsmouth from Hayling Island in the early 1850s and the family remained in the Borough until at least World War 1. Those grandparents were Thomas and Jedidah (or Jeddia) Allen. They were born in 1825 and 1828 respectively; they married at Havant in 1847 and Jedidah's maiden name was Betsworth. Their address at the 1861 census was 39 Seymour Street, Buckland.
Thomas and Jedidah already had three children by the time they moved to Portsmouth and later had four more. The eldest was named Henry and he was born in 1849. Thomas was described as a brewer in the 1861 census and after he died in the 1860s his son Henry seems to have taken over the business. The family moved to 62 Cottage View, Landport in time for the 1871 census.
Henry had left home before the next census at which he was listed as married to Sarah and living at 15 Raglan Street. The records concerning the marriage are inconclusive but he probably married Sarah Eliza Littlefield in 1880. She was the daughter of Henry Littlefield, a cordwainer of Kettering Terrace. There is a slight problem with the date for the marriage as the birth of Henry Thomas Allen, their first born, took place in 1878 and that of their second born, Edward John, in 1879.
The family remained at Raglan Street until the early years of the 20th century during which time Henry and Sarah had five more children - Sarah (b. 1881), Mark (b. 1886), William (b. 1888), Harriet (b. 1891) and Lilian (b. 1894). Henry worked as a railway carman throughout this period whilst his son Henry Thomas was employed as a bricklayer.
By 1911 the family had moved to 50 Lancaster Road, following the death of Henry in 1907. Henry Thomas was probably still at home when the Great War began in August 1914, but at the age of 35 he may not have felt inclined to enlist straight away. It may even have been as late as January 1916, when conscription was introduced, that he did sign up and receive a posting to the Royal Berkshire Regiment. He died in unknown circumstances in August 1917; he has no known grave.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) list Henry Thomas Allen, Private (36038), Royal Berkshire Regiment, died 22/08/1917. Commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial (Panel 105 to 106 and 162). Son of Henry Thomas and Sarah Allen, of 35, Heyshott Rd., Southsea, Portsmouth.
Henry Allen is also commemorated on the Cenotaph, in Guildhall Square, Portsmouth. He is not listed in "The National Roll of the Great War", Section X.
Tim Backhouse
December 2014