Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

At the age of 51 years George Frederick must have been one of the oldest serviceman to die during the Great War. He had been born in Portsmouth unlike his father, also named George, who originated from Lambeth, London and who may never have come to the town had he not joined the Royal Navy.
George snr. was a gunner's mate when he was first recorded living in Portsmouth by the 1871 census. He had married Mary Ann Ninan, who was from the town, in 1861 and together they had a home at 85 Montague Street, off Greetham Street, with their four children, George Frederick (b. 1866), James (b. 1867), Mary (b. 1869) and Sarah (b. 1871). By 1881 they had moved to 8 Cutler's Row, off Marylebone Street and had one more child, William, who was born in 1873.
A few years later George Frederick left the household and in 1891 was working as a bricklayer's labourer whilst lodging at 57 Sussex Street. He later decided to join the Hampshire Regiment and served in Burma and in the Boer War. By the early 1900s he was back in Portsmouth having presumably retired from the army and in 1904 he married Maria Smith though no documentary evidence for this has been traced. The 1911 census listed them at 5 Ford's Court, Marylebone Street with their three children, Violet, Hilda and George born in 1905, 1907 and 1909 respectively.
At the outbreak of the Great War in 1914 George Frederick re-enlisted but despite attempts to get an overseas posting was retained on home duties. He was serving in Herne Bay in 1916 when he contracted pneumonia and died. His body was transferred to Portsmouth where he was buried.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) list George Frederick Abbott, Private (144212), 6th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, died 12/11/1916, aged 51. Buried at Kingston Cemetery, Portsmouth (Grave Ref: Gardiner's. 10A. 10 1/2.). Husband of Maria Abbott, of 28, East St., Southsea, Hants. Served in the Burma Expedition and in the South African Campaign. Born at Portsmouth.
George Abbott is commemorated on the Cenotaph, in Guildhall Square, Portsmouth. He is listed in "The National Roll of the Great War", Section X, p1 (as Abbott GE).
Tim Backhouse
December 2014