Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

Although he was born at South Norwood in 1899 Arthur Boyett spent much of his life in Portsmouth. In contrast, his father Thomas Henry was born at Portsmouth in 1870 and spent several years in South Norwood. Before that, Arthur's grandfather John Miles Earle was born at Amersham, Buckinghamshire in 1832, and lived in Portsmouth for the last two decades of his life.
The first connection between Portsmouth and the Earle family was recorded in 1859 when John Miles Earle married Fanny Bone in Portsea. Fanny had been born at Portsea in 1834. It is not known what brought Thomas to Portsmouth but it probably wasn't his job as the first census in which the couple appear in Portsmouth (1871) he is described as a Beer Retailer at The Mile End Cellars at 365 Commercial Road (which wasn't demolished until 1977). With John and Fanny were their children, John, Charles and Thomas Henry, born in 1865, 1868 and 1870 respectively.
By 1881 John Miles had given up beer retailing and moved across to become an 'Agent for Ales etc.' and moved his family to 41 Raglan Street, off Somers Road. By then a fourth son, Frederick was present having been born in 1872. John Miles died ten years later, just before the census of 1891 which showed the family had moved to 43 Cleveland Road, off Fawcett Road in Southsea. All four boys were still at home with their newly widowed mother Fanny.
In 1893 Thomas Henry Earle married Mary Laura, the 21 year old daughter of Joseph and Eliza Boyett of 3 Britannia Road, Southsea. Shortly after the marriage the couple moved to Newport, Monmouthshire where their first child Thomas Henry jnr. was born in 1897. By 1901 they had moved again, this time to South Norwood, where two more boys were born, Arthur Boyett in 1899 and Horatio Charles in 1902.
The 1911 census shows the family back in Portsmouth where they were living at 99 Pretoria Road, Southsea. The outbreak of the Great War in 1914 found Arthur Boyett Earle a 15 year old boy who was too young to enlist. He eventually did so in August 1917 when he was posted as a Private in the Somerset Light Infantry and sent to the Western Front. There he fought at the Battle of Cambrai and was posted as missing on 29th March 1918, later presumed killed in action on that date.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists Arthur Boyett Earle, Private (28172), 1st Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry, died, 29/03/1918, aged 19 years. Commemorated on the Arras Memorial. Son of Thomas Henry and Mary Laura Earle, of 9, Langstone Rd., Portsmouth.
Arthur Earle is also commemorated on the Cenotaph, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth. He is listed in "The National Roll of the Great War", Section X, p292.
Also listed in the National Roll of the Great War were Thomas Henry and Horatio Charles Earle, both of whom worked for the Navy and Army Canteen Board, at Pelham Down and HMS Vernon respectively. It is not known whether the former was Arthur Boyett's father or brother.
Tim Backhouse
January 2015