Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

A list of the notable places in the Burren family history reads like a roll call of naval establishments with Chatham, Devonport and Plymouth, all featuring, with of course Portsmouth well represented.
George Percy's father, George E.W. Burren, was born to a family rooted in the Chatham area with George E.W. himself having been born at Rochester in 1865. His father, also called George was born in 1839, at Chatham and his mother Elizabeth was born in 1843 at Rochester. George E.W. joined the Royal Navy at an early age and was absent from the UK for the censuses of 1881 and 1891, but we know that in 1891 he married Cordelia Mary Hoskin in Portsea. She was born at Stoke Damerel, Devonport in 1864.
The couple first appear in a census in 1901 when they were living at 32, Cowper Road, off St. Mary's Road, Fratton. With them were their two eldest children - George Percy (b. 9th May 1892, Plymouth) and Archibald John (b. 1896, Portsmouth). A daughter, Dorothy Eleanor, arrived in 1903

In 1904 George Percy began attending the Secondary School at Victoria Road North, Southsea and he early showed those qualities of character and that devotion to duty, which afterwards won the respect of all who knew him both at the Secondary School and in the Royal Navy. He passed the Civil Service Examination for Naval Boy Artificer in 1907, and on leaving H.M.S. Fisgard became Engine Room Artificer. He was still living at home when the 1911 census was taken, though 'home' was by then 47 Tokio Road, off Copnor Road.
George Percy served in H.M.S. Hampshire on the China Station from November, 1913, to February, 1915, then on June 5th, 1916 the ship was sent to Russia with Lord Kitchener and his high ranking entourage. They set out from Scapa Flow and soon encountered a force nine gale which was being weathered when she probably hit a mine and sank killing all her crew except for 12 crewmen who made it to shore alive. George Percy Burren was one of those lost.
The photograph above is taken from a memorial booklet published by Southern Grammar School from which extracts also appear above.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) lists Engine Room Artificer George Percy Burren (M/137), Royal Navy, HMS Hampshire, died on 05/06/1915. Commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial (Panel 15).
George Burren is also remembered on the Southern Grammar School WW1 Memorial and on the Cenotaph. He is not listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War'.
Tim Backhouse
May 2014