Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

The Clue family grave in Highland Road Cemetery is in a poor state, but much of the lettering on the headstone can still be read. Included with the names of those buried in the plot is a commemoration of Henry May Clue who fell in the Great War and has no known grave of his own.
The census of 1861 recorded no one by the name of Clue living in Portsmouth but by 1871 there had been a notable influx of the family led by George May Clue, who had been born in Lavington, Sussex in 1838 and his wife Charlotte (nee Ames), born in 1844 in Brighton. There is no obvious reason why they should have moved to Portsmouth but it may have had something to do with George's trade as a chemist. With George and Charlotte were their children George jnr. (b. 1869) and Ada (b. 1870) and together they took up residence at 31 Butcher Street, off Ordnance Row in Portsea.
They remained at Butcher Street for over ten years during which three more children were born - Charles in 1873, Ernest in 1874 and Henry in 1878. Ada did not appear in the 1881 census so it is assumed that she had died. A similar fate visited Charlotte in 1884 and from there on the family seems to have fragmented. George May married for a second time to Annie and moved to 212 Fratton Road with Ernest and Henry while Charles and George jnr, who had become a chemist's assistant, are seen living at 2 Portland Road with an unnamed uncle*.
The 1891 census goes on to show that living in the same household as George jnr. was Florence Lizzie Henson (b. 1864) and in the same year as the census the couple married and later moved to 56 Marmion Road, Southsea where George set up shop as a newsagent. The 1901 census shows them at that address with a growing family including their first born, Henry May Clue (b. 1892) whose siblings were Alice, Sidney, Charles and Eva. Also in the household were Florence's mother Emma Howells, her sister Alice Henson (who acted as Newsagent's assistant to George) and George's niece Beatrice. This household remained remarkably stable for over a decade.
In 1911 Henry May Clue had a job as a photographer's assistant and probably didn't enlist in the first wave of enthusiasm after the declaration of War three years later. Records from the King's Own Royal (Lancaster) website shows that Henry joined the regiment as a commissioned officer in 1915. He was reported killed in action in July 1916, during an attack on Pozieres, The Somme.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists Second Lieutenant Henry May Clue, 10th Battalion, King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment), attached to the 7th Battalion, died on 30/07/1916, age 24. Remembered on the Thiepval Memorial.
Henry Clue is also remembered on the Family Gravestone in Highland Road Cemetery, the WW1 Memorial Cross at St. Jude's Church and on the Cenotaph. He is not listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War'.
*The 1891 census entry for the Clue family is unusual in that there is no head of household named, though there is a space left for one and there is a scrawled entry to the right on the same line. As the entries for Charles and George describes them as nephews it is assumed that the missing person is the brother of their father George May (it couldn't be the brother of Florence as there are children named Clue also in the household). It has not been possible to identify this person with any certainty nor explain why they are missing from the census.
The 1911 census entry for the Clue family is also unusual in that it is split into two, both of which give their address as 56 Marmion Road. One of them shows Florence's mother and sister together with Henry May and Sidney whilst the other contains George and Florence with three children. There is no obvious explanation for this.
Tim Backhouse
March 2014