Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

Although as a naval officer he would have been well acquainted with Portsmouth there is nothing to connect Herbert William with the Borough prior to 1906.
His father, James Couch, was an army officer for much of his life, spending extended periods posted in foriegn lands with his family by his side, which meant the family left few traces in the UK archives. The earliest confirmed record of James is from 1871 when he married Helen Hollis at Hartley Witney, Hampshire; she had been born in Oxfordshire in 1847. Their first child was born at Malta in 1876 and named Percy, whilst their second was Herbert William who was born in 1880, also in Malta. Three more children followed and from the location of their births it is possible to trace James's postings - George (Karachi, 1882), Helen (Bristol, 1885) and Ethel (Devonport, 1889).
Further postings can be determined from the census as in 1891 the family were at The Verne Citadel in Portland and in 1901 at the Regimental Depot, Lichfield where James was Captain and Quartermaster Infantry. By 1911 James had retired and with Helen and the younger children settled in Lichfield. Herbert William however had left home in the late 1890s and in 1901 was attending the Engineering Student College at Devonport. Little is known of his naval career immediately after his graduation but he was in Portsmouth in 1906 as that was when he married Edith Cecile King (b. 1881) of 125 High Street, Portsmouth where her mother Annie was a Carriage Proprietress.
Herbert and Edith set up home at 85 St. Thomas's Street where they had two children by the 1911 census, though only one, Cecile Mary (b. 1909) was recorded.
At the outbreak of the Great War Herbert William was serving aboard HMS Good Hope, the flagship of Sir Christopher Cradock, which was despatched to the Pacific Ocean to search for Admiral Spee's squadron. Cradock's force however was no match for the German's and the Good Hope was lost in the Battle of Coronel. There were no survivors from her crew of 919 officers and men.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) list Engineer Lieut. Commander Herbert William Couch, Royal Navy, HMS Good Hope, died 01/11/1914. Commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial (Panel 1).
Herbert Couch is also commemorated on the Anglican Cathedral WW1 Memorial Cross and the Cenotaph. He is not listed in "The National Roll of the Great War", Section X.
Tim Backhouse
October 2014