Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

The 1911 census recorded William Storry and the rest of the Aitken family living at 165 Fratton Road. This was the first census since they had crossed the water from Gosport where they had lived for the previous quarter century. There is very little other documentary evidence to connect the family to Portsmouth.
William's father Andrew Storry Aitken had been born at Wishaw in Lanarkshire, Scotland in 1862. He joined the Royal Marine Light Infantry after leaving school and at some point in the 1880s he must have been at Forton Barracks in Gosport. He was certainly in the town by 1886 as that was when he married Ellen Edwards and settled down. Their first son Andrew John was born in 1889 and he was followed by James (1890), Ellen (1891), George Storry (1892), William Storry (1895) and Sarah (1901).
It's not known exactly when Andrew Storry left the RMLI but he was still serving with them in 1901. Whenever he did leave he made a rather curious career change and became a dispenser at a doctor's (surgery). It was presumably the offer of a job in Portsmouth that brought the family across the water.
At the outbreak of the Great War William Aitken was probably already serving in the Royal Navy. In November 1914 he was aboard HMS Bulwark which was moored near Sheerness in the River Medway. At 7.50am on the 26th of that month Bulwark was ripped apart by a mighty explosion killing all but 14 members of the crew. William's body was not recovered. He died nearly two years before his brother George Aitken was killed in France.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) list William Storrie (sic) Aitken, Officer's Cook 3rd Class, (L/5315), Royal Navy, HMS Bulwark, died 26/11/1914, age 20. Commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial (Panel 5). Son of Andrew Storrie (sic) Aitken (Pensioner R.M.L.I.) and Ellen Aitken, of 154, Francis Avenue, Southsea.
William Aitken was also commemorated on the lost WW1 Memorial at St. Matthew's Church and still is on the Cenotaph. He is not listed in "The National Roll of the Great War", Section X.
Tim Backhouse
December 2014