Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

In the 1911 Census William John Edney is listed at 76 Brompton Road which is north of Highland Road and a little west of Highland Road Cemetery. He was described as a 14 year old 'Rivet Boy' at HM Dockyard and was living with his mother Amelia Sophia Edney (nee Southgate, born 1867 at Deptford) and his four siblings, Alfred, Alice, Nelly and John, all born in Southsea between 1899 and 1906.
William John's father, also known as William does not appear in the 1911 Census as he had died in 1906, but he isn't present in the 1901 census either which has created a problem in tracing the family back any earlier. All that is known for certain is that William snr. was born in 1866 and married Amelia at Portsmouth in 1895. Four years earlier Amelia had been a servant in Paddington but William has not been positively traced.
At the outbreak of the Great War William John was 17 years old and so probably did not enlist until at least 1915. When he did so he was posted to the Royal Engineers and in 1918 was serving with the 233rd (Ripon) Field Company in the 41st Division. The unit had fought in the Battles of the Somme and the Third Battle of Ypres before being transferred to the Italian front. By March 1918 however they were back in France and once more fighting at the Somme. William John Edney was killed on 31st July 1918 but the circumstances are unknown.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists William John Edney, Sapper (131075), 233rd Field Company, Royal Engineers, died, 31/07/1918, aged 21 years. Buried at the Esquelbecq Military Cemetery, (Grave Ref: III.D.20.). Son of Amelia S. and the late William Edney, of 76, Brompton Rd., Southsea, Portsmouth.
William Edney is 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