Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

The Compton family were typical of so many in Portsmouth who moved out from the area around the dockyard to the relative peace of Landport as soon as there were houses to move to. Three generations of Comptons continued living in Landport right up to the start of the Great War.
William Compton, grandfather of Charles Edward, is recorded living at Cosham Street in 1851 and 48 Lake Road in 1871 with his wife Mary and son William, a painter by occupation. The younger William is listed in the 1881 Census as married to Ann with whom he lived at 59 Arnaud Place with two children, Ann and William. By 1891 they had moved to 97 Wingfield Street by which time three more children, Charles Edward, Florence and Elizabeth had been born. At this time William is listed as a general labourer and Ann as a corset maker. 1901 saw the family move yet again, this time to 121 Wingfield Street, with William improving his work status by becoming a gas works fitter.
Charles Edward Compton married Charlotte Maria in 1910 and a year later were living at 5 Frederick Street. Charles was already declaring himself to be a skilled labourer in the Dockyard, a role that seems to have been important enough to excuse him enlistment. In January 1918 he was sent to join HMS Reliance off the coast of Salonika. The ship on which he travelled was HMS Louvain which was hit by a torpedo fired by the German U-boat SM UC-22 in the Aegean Sea and sank with the loss of 7 officers and 217 men. 10 members of the crew survived but Compton was not among them.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission list Charles Edward Compton, Skilled Labourer, HM Dockyard, died 20/01/1918, age 32. Son of Ann Maria Compton, of Portsmouth; husband of Charlotte Maria Compton, of 32, Olinda St., Kingston, Portsmouth. Remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial (Panel 31).
Charles E. Compton is remembered on the All Saints Church WW1 memorial and the Cenotaph. His name also appears in the 'National Roll of the Great War' Section X, page 281.
Tim Backhouse
December 2013