Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

It is perhaps understandable that armed forces personnel who died of influenza during the war may not get the same level of recognition that those killed in action receive. In the case of Arthur Vincent Barrett it is doubly tragic in that he served valiantly for all but a month of the war before succumbing to the disease.
Arthur Barrett was born in Cheltenham on 18th April 1891 and joined the navy well before the outbreak of war. For the 1911 Census he is recorded as being an Able Seaman at the School of Gunnery at HMS Excellent on Whale Island, Portsmouth but he has not been traced in the census ten years earlier.
The National Roll records that Arthur Barret served on board several vessels during the war including HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Nimrod. He was engaged on escort and patrol duties in the English Channel until February 1915, after which he served in the Dardenelles, the Adriatic, Bermuda and the North Sea.
In the early part of 1915, whilst stationed at Weymouth he married Annie Marie Crosby who was born in Portsmouth (and was resident in the Infectious Diseases Hospital, Milton for the 1901 Census). They presumably moved to Portsmouth as Annie was later recorded as living at 34 Lower Derby Road, but we don't know if that was the marital home.
With less than a month to go before Armistice Day Arthur Barrett contracted influenza and died on 13th October 1918. He may, by that time, have been in Portsmouth as he is buried in Kingston Cemetery.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists Petty Officer Arthur Vincent Barret, Royal Navy (239198), died on 13/10/1918, aged 28 years, serving aboard HMS Nimrod. Buried in Kingston Cemetery, Portsmouth (Grave Ref: Billing's 11.20). Husband of Annie M. Dennark (formerly Barrett), of 34, Lower Derby Rd., Stamshaw, Portsmouth.
Arthur Barrett is remembered on the St. John the Baptist Church WW1 memorial. The memorial was transferred to St. Agatha's Church, Market Way when St. John's* was declared redundant in 1980. Also remembered on the Cenotaph and in the National Roll, Vol. X, p263.
Tim Backhouse
January 2014

*St. John the Baptist's Church was on Simpson Road, just north of the junction between Twyford Avenue and the Rudmore roundabout. It was converted to private accommodation.