Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

The Brading family originated from the Isle of Wight where both of William Ernest's parents were born. They were Samuel Brading who was born in 1837 to parents William and Sarah, and Frances Jane, daughter of Edgar and Caroline Midlane born in 1839. Though both came from the Isle of Wight they were actually married in Gosport in 1857.
As soon as he left school Samuel took up an apprenticeship as a coppersmith, which probably explains why he moved to Portsmouth where there would have been more opportunity of finding work, particularly in the Dockyard. Samuel and Frances were recorded in the 1861 census living at 8 Copenhagen Street, off Unicorn Road, with their daughter Alice who was born in 1859.
Ten years later the family were at 77 Gladstone Street, Buckland whilst in the meantime two more children had been born, Ada in 1866 and Samuel jnr. in 1870. A further ten years on, in 1881, the family were at 60 Grafton Street and two sons had been added, William Ernest on 24th Septemeber 1873 and Edwin in 1877. Yet another change of address is recorded in the 1891 census when the Bradings were at 9 Prospect Road, close to Flathouse Quay, when William Ernest had found work as a shipwright's apprentice.
In 1897 William Ernest married Annie Townsend and were listed in the 1901 census living at 104 Cressy Road, Buckland with their two children Edgar (b. 1898) and Leslie (b. 1900). William Ernest was not actaully at home when the census was called as he had by then joined the Royal Navy and was at sea on board HMS Magdala. It was the same in 1911 when the census noted that the family had moved to 171 Laburnum Grove, North End and three more children had been born - Ivy (b. 1904), Ruby (b. 1909) and Grace (b. 1910), but William was at sea, this time on HMS Swiftsure.
Most of William's career in the navy after the declaration of war in 1914 is unknown except that at some point he was posted to HMS Exe which was engaged in counter-mining and anti-submarine patrols out of the Humber from August 1915 onwards. The death of William Brading was recorded by the CWGC on 27th March 1918 but as the ship reported no losses in action at the time it is assumed he died from an accident or from disease.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) list Artificer Engineer William Ernest Brading, Royal Navy, HMS Exe, died 27/03/1918. Commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial (Panel 28).
William Brading is also commemorated on the Buckland United Reformed Church WW1 Memorial and on the Cenotaph. He is not listed in "The National Roll of the Great War", Section X.
Tim Backhouse
November 2014