Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

There is a good chance that Reginald Harold came from a military family but it cannot currently be confirmed as his father, William, has not been identified in any census record. This also means that his father's age and birthplace have not been positively traced.
The suspicion that William was a military man is derived from the location of his marriage to Emily Anscombe in 1874 which took place in the District of Farnham and the birthplaces of their children - Aldershot, Chatham, Fareham, Gosport, Kildare in Ireland and Portsmouth, the moves often being in successive years.
The rest of the Chamberlain family appear in the censuses for 1891, 1901 and 1911 during which time they were living in Portsmouth. In each case the head of the household was named as Emily who was born at Brighton in 1850. She described herself as a widow in 1911 and married for the earlier dates. The family lived successively at 26 Butcher Street, 33 Osborne Street and 3 Forbury Road.
There were 10 children born to William and Emily, the eldest of which was Charles, and he was born at Aldershot in 1875. The youngest child was Reginald Harold who was born at Portsmouth in 1890. Reginald was described in the 1911 census as a 'Beer Bottler' but he must have given this up to join the army shortly after the outbreak of the Great War. As he joined the 14th Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment he would have done so between 3rd September 1914 when the call went out for men to join the 1st 'Portsmouth' (later 14th) Battalion and the 15th April 1915 when the Battalion paraded on Southsea Common before boarding trains taking them for formal training at Witley in the north of Hampshire.
The Battalion eventually went to war in March 1916 when they landed at Le Havre. Reginald Harold would then have experienced battles at the Somme and Ypres before losing his life at the end of July 1917.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists Reginald Harold Chamberlain Private (24691), 14th Battalion Hampshire Regiment, died on 31/07/1917, age 27. Buried at Buffs Road Cemetery. Son of Emily Chamberlain, of 3, Forbury Rd., Southsea, Portsmouth, and the late William Chamberlain.
Reginald Chamberlain is remembered on the Cenotaph, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth. He is not listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War'.
Tim Backhouse
December 2014