Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

Although both Thomas Joseph and his father John Burnett were born in Portsmouth there are indications that the family origins may have been in Ireland. This is suggested by the absence of the family from the UK for the three censuses following John's birth and the fact that John's wife, Eliza, was born in Ireland and they may have been married there in 1884.
Despite John's apparent absence from Portsmouth for much of his early life he must have felt an affinity for the place as he returned with Eliza within two years of their marriage. The 1891 census records them living at 20 Trimmer's Court in Old Portsmouth, usually thought of as a slum area. With them were four children, the eldest John jnr. (b. 1884 in Ireland) and three siblings born in Portsmouth, Thomas Joseph (b. 1886), Kate (b. 1888) and Alice (b. 1890). At the time John was working as a general labourer.
By 1901 the family had moved to better premises at 8 Oyster Street, possibly because John's employment was by then a waterman. The census that year shows that there was one more child born to John and Eliza, namely Annie (b. 1893). The following ten years saw a change of job for John and another move to better housing - Nightwatchman at Clarence Pier and 61 St. Paul's Road respectively. Thomas Joseph meanwhile was working as a labourer for a coal merchant.
Thomas Joseph probably enlisted in the Hampshire Regiment before the Great War broke out as by 1915 he was a Lance Sergeant in the 10th Battalion of the regiment. After serving in Ireland for the first year of the war the regiment was posted to Gallipoli where they arrived on 6th August 1915. Thomas Burnett lost his life just four days later.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) list Lance Sergeant Thomas Joseph Burnett, (3/4596), 10th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, died 10/08/1915. Commemorated on the Helles Memorial (Panel 125-134 or 223-226 228-229 & 328.). Son of John and Eliza Burnett, of 31, Diamond St., Southsea, Portsmouth.
Thomas Burnett is commemorated on the Anglican Cathedral WW1 Memorial Cross and the Cenotaph. He is not listed in "The National Roll of the Great War", Section X.
Tim Backhouse
October 2014