Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

Although he was born at Freshwater on the Isle of Wight, Charles Arthur did not actually get to Portsmouth until late in the first decade of the 20th Century. His family do not seem to have lived in any one location for very long, probably because his father Robert George Brown was a member of the Royal Marines or the army.
Robert George had been born at Windham in Suffolk in 1868 and married his wife Emily in 1892. She had been born at Sandown, Isle of Wight in 1868 but further details of her or the marriage are inconclusive. The suggestion that Robert George was a member of the armed forces comes solely from the location of his children's births which were George Edward (1895, Bombay), Charles Arthur (1899, Freshwater), Ernest Robert (1901, Donegal) and John Albert (1904, Brighton).
By the time the family were finally recorded living in Portsmouth by the 1911 census Robert George had left the forces and was described as an agent for Provident Clothing working at home. There was no mention of a forces pension which throws some doubt on the theory that he was a serviceman. The family were living at 126 Landguard Road, Eastney, a popular area for Royal Marines and their families.
Charles Arthur was only 15 years of age when the Great War began and would therefore have been too young to enlist but in June 1915 he managed to sign on for the 15th Battalion Hampshire Regiment. He was sent to France in the same month and saw action at The Somme where he was wounded. He must have been transferred back to Britain as he died in Liverpool in November 1916.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) list Charles Arthur Brown Private (18536), 15th Depot Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, died 05/11/1916, aged 17. Buried at Liverpool (Kirkdale) Cemetery (Grave Ref: Screen Wall. IV. C.E. 22.). Son of Mrs. Emily Brown, of 53, Froddington Rd., Southsea, Portsmouth.
Charles Brown is commemorated on the Cenotaph, in Guildhall Square, Portsmouth. He is listed in "The National Roll of the Great War", Section X, p29.
Tim Backhouse
December 2014