Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

The branch of the Dopson family to which Frank Edward belonged had an association with Portsmouth and Gosport going back almost seventy years prior to the Great War. The census records suggest that it began with Frank Edward's grandfather, George Thomas Dopson who was born at Gosport in 1848 but it's likely his family had lived in the area for some time before then.
George Thomas married Rosina Pine at Portsmouth in 1874 but she does not seem to appear in other records prior to the marriage. George and Rosina moved to Jarrow shortly after where their first child, also known as Rosina, was born there in 1876. George's occupation as recorded on later censuses was that of a 'Ship's Engine Driver' which may explain why they moved from one port to another. Whether true or not they did not remain there long as they were back in Portsmouth for the birth of their next child George Henry in 1877.
Other children followed, 3 born on the isle of Wight and the youngest back in Portsmouth, but it is George Henry we follow as he was to become the father of Frank Edward. In the 1891 census, whilst the family were living at 21 Fourth Street in Portsmouth, George Henry was listed as being a porter for a mineral water manufacturer of which there were many dozens in town at the time. He was to remain with them for at least the next twenty years.

In 1897 George Henry married Elizabeth Clark Thompson who had been born at Portsmouth in 1875. At the next census in 1901 the couple were living at 23 Gladstone Street, Mile End with their two children George Thomas (b. 1898) and Frank Edward (b. 1900). A further son, Arthur Reginald was born in 1905. The family had moved to 38 Paulsgrove Road, North End by the 1911 census.
At about the same time Frank Edward began attending the Secondary School on Victoria Road North, Southsea where he remained for four years before becoming a Dockyard Apprentice as the result of Civil Service Examination in 1915. He joined the 1/2 London Regiment as a private and took part in the last stages of the war in France.
On the 13th October, 1918, his Company took the village of Aubigny-au-Bac, north of Cambrai, the Germans counter-attacked in greater force and Frank Edward Dopson was killed by machine gun fire during the retirement. 'This brave lad, who gave great promise of a useful career in the Dockyard, died at the early age of 18 years 10 months.'
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists Private Frank Edward Dopson, (245745), London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers), died on 13/10/1918. Remembered on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial (Panel 10). Son of George Henry and Elizabeth Clark Dopson, of 514, Commercial Rd., Portsmouth.
Frank Dopson is remembered on the Southern Grammar School WW1 Memorial and the Cenotaph in Portsmouth. He is not listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War'.
Tim Backhouse
July 2014