Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

Very little is known of Alfred's father Alfred Albert Dawson other than that he married Sarah Ann Budd at Havant in 1879, became father to Alfred William in 1884 and died in 1886.
There is slightly more documentary evidence about Alfred's mother Sarah Ann Dawson. She was born in Emsworth in 1855 the daughter of Master Mariner Alfred Budd and his wife Jane. After marrying Alfred Albert the 1881 census places her at 6 Grosvenor Beach Mansions on South Parade where she was a servant in the household of the Borough Councillor and Brewer Edwin Galt. There is no indication of where Alfred and Sarah were living at the time but Alfred Albert may have been a seaman as he does not appear in the 1881 census.
After the death of her husband Sarah Ann found a home for herself and her son Alfred William in a shared household at 29 Stirling Street where the 1891 census found them. Neither Sarah Ann nor Alfred William have been located in the 1901 census and by the time of the following census Alfred William had joined the Royal Navy and was away at sea. In 1910 however he had married Nellie Beatrice Warner and in December that year she had given birth to their son Alan in Copnor, where presumably they were living at the time.
Nothing is known of Alfred William's naval career, either before or after the outbreak of the Great War. All that is known for certain is that he was aboard HMS Hampshire at the beginning of June 1916 when the ship was sent to Russia with Lord Kitchener and his high ranking entourage. They set out from Scapa Flow and soon encountered a force nine gale which was being weathered when she probably hit a mine and sank killing all her crew except for 12 crewmen who made it to shore alive. Alfred Dawson was one of those lost.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) list Ship's Steward Alfred William Arthur Dawson (342334), Royal Navy, HMS Hampshire, died 05/06/1916, aged 32. Commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial (Panel 20). Husband of N. B. Dawson, of 18, Malvern Rd., Southsea, Hants.
Alfred Dawson is also commemorated on the Buckland United Reformed Church WW1 Memorial and on the Cenotaph (as Dawson AW). He is not listed in "The National Roll of the Great War", Section X.
Tim Backhouse
November 2014