Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

Throughout the history of Portsmouth as a naval base, some sailors have chosen to make the town their home. William Berry was one of them though in his case the stay in Portsmouth was relatively brief.
Home for William was originally in Lambeth, London where he was born in 1881. He probably joined the Royal Navy soon after leaving school and may have received his training at Portsmouth. He didn't entirely forsake South London though as in 1902 he married Alice Constance Hoare at Wandsworth. The couple seem to have made Portsmouth their home from the outset as their first child Constance was born in the town in 1903, to be followed two years later by their second, Winifred.
The Berry family as a whole only appear in one census, that of 1911 when they were living at 35 Oliver Road, Eastney. At that time William was described as an Engine Room Artificer but little else is known of his naval career. He certainly survived the whole of the Great War at the end of which he was serving aboard HMS Renown. The ship went into dock for a major refit in December 1918 but William did not live long enough to see it completed as he died, probably of influenza, in February 1919.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) list William Frederick Berry Engine Room Artificer 1st Class, (270639), Royal Navy, HMS Renown, died 27/02/1919, aged 37. Buried at Wandsworth (Earlsfield) Cemetery (Grave Ref: G.B.6.7533.). Son of Henry and Matilda Berry, of Balham, London; husband of Alice Constance Berry, of 30, St. Ronan's Rd., Southsea, Hants.
William Berry 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