Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

There are many private memorials to the missing of World War 1 in Highland Road Cemetery, but some are such prominent components of a family grave it almost looks as though the person commemorated is actually buried there. The Cox Family grave is a case in point as the headstone is the memorial to Clarence Cox with the inscription to his mother Amy relegated to the kerb.
The family of Clarence Cox had been living in Portsmouth for around 50 years prior to the outbreak of the Great War. They first appear in Portsmouth at the 1871 census after George and Louisa Cox (Clarence's grandparents) had moved with their growing family from London to live at 11 Ordnance Row, Portsea. It's unlikely they moved south because of George's employment prospects as he set up as a second hand dealer in furniture and clothing from the outset. The business must have thrived as within ten years George had moved the family to premises at 65 Queen Street, a highly sought after location.
George and Louisa had eight children, the first three of whom were Louisa, George H. and Charles Townley (who became the father of Clarence). Around 1885 Louisa died and four years later George married Alice Adams. In 1891 the census records that George H. and Charles Townley were shipwright and coach builder respectively, trades that were to prove formative as the young men went on to found a leading cycle manufactory based at 41 Castle Road. The Managing Director of the firm, then named Cox G.H. & Co. Ltd. was George H. who lived just round the corner at 2 St. Edward's Road, whilst Charles acted as Foreman and lived on the premises with his wife Amy and their son Clarence. Curiously, next door at 43-45 Castle Road was another cycle manufacturer and dealer by the name of Samuel Rose. The two companies operated alongside each other throughout the early years of the 20C but whereas Cox's survived the Great War, Rose's did not.
The world of the bicycle must have made quite an impact on Clarence as he grew up but curiously he did not go into the family business preferring instead to join the Post Office Savings Bank in London as a clerk. The 1911 census showed him as a lodger in Gospel Oak. It's not known when he enlisted in the army but as he must have chosen to join the Post Office Rifles he must have done so before conscription was introduced in 1916. He was killed in action during the great German advance of late March 1918.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists Rifleman Clarence W. Cox, 1st/8th Battalion, London Regiment (Post Office Rifles), died on 27/03/1918. Remembered on the Pozieres Memorial.
Clarence Cox 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'.
Tim Backhouse
March 2014