Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

On 10th July 1825, at St. Mary's Church, Portsea, there was a marriage between John Bevis, who had been born at Gosport in 1801 and Caroline Whiston who came from Arundel and was born in 1805. Thus began the long association between Portsmouth and the Bevis family which continued for many years after the death of John and Caroline's great-grandson Charles Thomas Bevis.
Although they were married in Portsmouth, John and Caroline were still living in Gosport at the time of the 1851 census where their eldest child Charles was born (in 1832). John was working as a prison warder and Charles as a Shipwright's Apprentice. Two years after the census Charles married Emma Pink in Gosport and in 1865 their son Charles William was born. The family do not seem to appear in the 1861 census but in 1871 Charles and Emma are recorded living at 71 King Street, Southsea. By this time Charles was a Writer in the Dockyard and Charles William was an Architecture pupil.
In 1879 Charles William married Alice Quick in Portsmouth and a steady rise through society began with moves to 6 Pelham Road (1881) and Elm Grove House (1891) followed by Charles's election as a Borough Councillor for St. Paul's Ward in 1887. All the while Charles William's architecture business flourished and the family expanded with the birth of nine children between 1881 and 1895. The eldest son was Charles Thomas Bevis who was destined to follow his father's career once he had completed a spell at Portsmouth Grammar School.
It seems that many of the male members of the family were volunteers in the Hampshire Royal Engineers (Hampshire Fortress Company) as on 6th October 1908 the London Gazette published a notice of appointment for Charles William Bevis (Lieutenant-Colonel), Charles Thomas Bevis (Lieutenant) and Richard Henry Bevis (Lieutenant). The following year Alice Bevis died and in 1911 Charles William married Florence Wills. The census that year records that Charles Thomas was at lodgings in York where he was working as an Assistant Surveyor for the War Department.
There is some second hand evidence that Charles Thomas had married Enid Gertrude Scott around 1908 and that they had a son Charles Gordon who lived into the 21st Century, however documentary evidence to support this is inconclusive.
Nothing is currently known of Charles Bevis's military career but as a member of the Hampshire Fortress Company of the Royal Engineers he may not have seen any active service as such companies were largely involved in Coastal Defence Works, often relating to the electricity supply. The Hampshire Company spent the entire war in and around Portsmouth. All we know for certain is that at the end of the Great War Charles Thomas contracted influenza and died of pneumonia in North Wales.
Further Information
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) website lists Captain Charles Thomas Bevis, Royal Engineers, Hants Fortress Company, date of death, 18/02/1919, aged 37, buried at Bangor (Glanadda) Cemetery (Grave ref: E.OG.1420A.). Son of Col. and Mrs. C. W. Bevis; husband of Enid Bevis, of 18, Crown Terrace, Scarborough. Born at Southsea, Hants.
Charles Bevis is remembered on the St. Jude's Church WW1 Memorial, the Portsmouth Grammar School WW1 Memorial and on the Cenotaph. He is not listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War'.
There is a plaque to Charles William Bevis in St. Jude's Church, placed there by his wife Florence in 1925.
Tim Backhouse
August 2014