Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

We might assume that for Alfred James to have reached the rank of Staff Sergeant by 1917 he must have been in the army before the outbreak of the Great War, but there is no currently available evidence to suggest he was. The censuses from 1891 to 1911 all describe him as a blacksmith or farrier, but he could have spent some of the intervening years in the ranks and then been called up in 1914.
Alfred James was a latecomer to Portsmouth having been born at Fareham, in 1870, and remaining there until 1900 when he married his wife Lizzie and the couple moved to Portsmouth, probably because Alfred had a job with the Borough Corporation to take up. The only address at which they were known to have lived was 28 Somers Street, Southsea and that was in 1911 when the census that year also listed their three children, Kathleen (b. 1902), Henry (b. 1904) and Violet (b. 1907)
Nothing is currently known of Alfred's wartime career but as he was 45 years old in 1914 and died in Portsmouth it's possible that he was not posted abroad but rather spent his service in training new recruits to the Royal Field Artillery.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) list Alfred James Adams, Staff Sergeant (850650), Royal Field Artillery, died 04/05/1917, aged 48. Buried at Milton Cemetery, Portsmouth (Grave Ref: I.6.76.). Son of Henry Harris Adams; husband of Lizzie Adams, of 37, Kimperley Rd., East Southsea, Hants. Born at Fareham, Hants.
Alfred Adams is 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