Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

The censuses show no trace of the Abrams family living in England before 1891, when Frederick George Leonard's father William J. Abrams (b. 1860, Ireland) is listed as a general labourer living at 26 Raglan Street with Caroline (b. 1864, Portsea) his wife and four children, William (b. 1886, Portsea), Caroline (b. 1887, Ireland), Harold (b. 1889, Portsea) and Frederick (b. 1891, Portsea).
10 years later the family had moved to 8 Park Road, William has become a mortuary attendant, and four more children have arrived - Ethel (b. 1893), Eva (b. 1894), Albert (b. 1898) and Nellie (b. 1890). All four were born in Portsmouth. William and Caroline and most of their children are absent from the census records for 1911 in Britain.
Nothing more is known about Harold's early life but it is known that he joined the Royal Navy before the outbreak of World War 1 as the 1911 Census shows him to be aboard HMS Surprise, a despatch vessel, at Portland. His movements over the next few years are unknown but by November 1914 he was aboard HMS Good Hope which took part in the Battle of Coronel off the coast of South America. The ship was sunk by the German cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau with the loss of her entire crew.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) lists Able Seaman Harold James Abrams, Royal Navy (233190), died on 01/11/1914, aged 26 years. He has no known grave and is remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial (Panel 1).
Harold Abrams is also remembered on the St. George's Church WW1 memorial and the Cenotaph but his name is missing from the National Roll. Harold's brother Frederick Abrams would later lose his life at the Battle of Ypres.
Tim Backhouse
December 2013