Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War


When a memorial to one of those killed in World War 1 appears on a family grave it is easy to forget that it wouldn't have existed until the first member of that family was actually buried there and in some cases it may have been decades after the war itself. An example of this is the memorial to Robert Carter in Kingston Cemetery (see photo) which wouldn't have been erected until 1927 when his mother died.
Buried in the same plot as his mother is Robert's father, also known as Robert, and although he lived to the age of 82 very little of his early life has been positively identified, though, judging by the size and elaborate nature of the memorial stone he must have been very successful. Robert snr. was born in 1870 and was probably the son of Edward and Sarah Carter who in 1881 were living at 40 Temple Street, near Commercial Road. He was the fifth of eight children and may have left home as soon as he was old enough to join the navy which kept him away from the UK for the next three censuses.
We know that in 1893 he married Eveline Jessie Cleife with whom he had four children by 1911 - Robert jnr. (b. 1895), Jessie (b. 1902), Leonard (b. 1909) and Doris (b. 1910). Robert jnr. was 20 years old at the outbreak of the Great War and probably enlisted in the first wave of volunteers. When he did so he joined the 14th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment and was killed in 1916 during the attack on Beaumont Hamel, part of the Battle of the Somme.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists Robert Carter Private (21662), 14th Battalion Hampshire Regiment, died on 03/09/1916, age 22. Buried at Serre Road Cemetery No. 1, Pas de Calais. Son of Robert Carter, of 89, Station Rd., Copnor, Portsmouth
Robert Carter is remembered on a Family Gravestone in Kingston Cemetery and on the Cenotaph. He is not listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War'.
Tim Backhouse
April 2014