Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

When HMS Bulwark exploded and sank at her moorings near Sheerness in November 1914 she took a great many Portsouth men to their graves. Some of them would have had deep roots in Portsmouth whilst others such as Engineer Artificer Francis Carter were relative latecomers.
Born at Fleetwood in Lancashire in 1877, son of Robert and Frances Elizabeth Carter, he probably left home to join the Royal Navy as soon as he was old enough. As he signed on at Portsmouth he probably also did his training in the vicinity. If he did so then must have had local lodgings but no record of them has been traced. He finally decided to make Porrtsmouth his home town when in 1905 he married Mabel Jane Bailey.
Mabel Jane who was born in 1882, was the daughter of John and Emily Bailey of 37 Cumberland Road and she may have met her future husband through her father who was a retired member of the Royal Navy. By 1911 Francis and Mabel had taken over the home at Cumberland Road and had a daughter Mabel Frances (b. 1908).
Nothing is currently known of Francis's naval career prior to the outbreak of the Great War. Indeed, all that is known for certain is that he was aboard HMS Bulwark on that fateful day in November 1914 when he lost his life with so many fellow citizens of Portsmouth.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) list Francis Carter, Artificer Engineer, Royal Navy, HMS Bulwark, died 26/11/1914. Commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial (Panel 1). Son of Robert and Frances Elizabeth Carter, of Fleetwood, Lancs.; husband of Mabel Jane Carter, of 85, Somers Rd., Southsea, Portsmouth.
Francis Carter is also commemorated on the Cenotaph in Guildhall Square, Portsmouth. He is not listed in "The National Roll of the Great War", Section X.
Tim Backhouse
December 2014