Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

Archival records show no one by the name of Frederick Charles Eastman who was born in Britain in 1883, the birthdate that would be required if his age at death as described by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission is correct. There was however a Frederick Eastman who was born at Portsmouth in 1893, the son of Mr and Mrs H Eastman. It is therefore assumed that the age at death recorded by the CWGC is incorrect.
Frederick's parents were Henry and Eliza Eastman who declared on the 1911 census that they were married in 1886 but there is no corresponding entry in the marriage registers anywhere in England. What is known for certain is that Henry originated from Southampton where he was born in 1863. His trade was that of a boot finisher which he seems to have learned after his move to Portsmouth in the mid 1880s.
The 1891 census records Henry and Eliza living at 50 Oxford Street, Landport with their two eldest children, Harry and Ernest, born 1887 and 1888 respectively. By 1901 the family had moved to 20 Voller Street, Landport, a house that had been declared unfit for habitation in 1898 but declared fit the following year. By that time also the family had grown by the addition of two more boys - Frederick Charles in 1893 and William George in 1896. By 1911 Henry had lost his job as a boot finisher and was instead working as a general labourer. The change in the family fortunes that this represented was evident from the move to 10 Bateman's Alley, off Kent Street in Portsea which was generally regarded as a slum area.
It is hardly surprising in these circumstances that Frederick Charles should leave the household and join the army. He found himself in the 2nd Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment which was posted out to India where they remained until recalled shortly after the outbreak of the Great War. After a period at bases in England the Battalion was sent to Gallipoli via Egypt, landing at Cape Helles on 25th April 1915. A week later Frederick Charles Eastman was killed in action.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists Frederick Charles Eastman, Private (9001), 2nd Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, died, 02/05/1915, aged 32 years. Commemorated on the Helles Memorial. Son of Mr. and Mrs. H. Eastman, of 9, Blossom Alley, Portsea, Portsmouth.
Frederick Eastman is also commemorated on the Cenotaph, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth. He is not listed in "The National Roll of the Great War", Section X.
Tim Backhouse
January 2015