Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

The community on Guernsey where James Brehaut was born and raised was rooted in agriculture. The move to Portsmouth, the navy and then the war must have been a strange experience.
James's father, also called James was born and raised in the same community, St. Peter's in the Wood, and we can well imagine the same was true of his grandfather. The census of 1891 shows the village populated almost exclusively by farmers and farm workers, though James snr. was described as a carpenter. There must have been regular contact with the outside world though as James snr.'s wife Hannah had been born in Suffolk. Together they had five children of whom James jnr. was the second, born on 21st November 1883.
The family were still on Guernsey at the census of 1901 but by then James jnr. had left home, probably in order to join the navy. In the 1911 census he is described as an Able Seaman in the Royal Navy and had married his wife Florence. There is no record of the marriage on the mainland, so it may have taken place in Guernsey. Like his father, James jnr. married an English woman, Florence having been born in Portsmouth. Together James and Florence were living at 68 Fifth Street, adjacent to Kingston Cemetery, and had one son James H who had been born in 1909.
At the outbreak of the Great War James Brehaut was a Leading Seaman aboard HMS Bulwark which in November 1914 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. James's body was not recovered.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists Leading Seaman James Brehaut (211587) RN, HMS Bulwark, died 26/11/1914, aged 33. Has no known grave and is remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial (Panel 1). Son of James Brehaut; husband of Florence E. Beedie (formerly Brehaut), of 1, Byron Rd., Copnor, Portsmouth. Native of Guernsey.
James Brehaut is also commemorated on the St. Alban's Church WW1 memorial and the Cenotaph. He is not listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War'.
Tim Backhouse
February 2014