Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

Both George Winnifrith Everest and his father David Robert worked as photographers, the former in Portsmouth and the latter in Kent and Sussex as well as Portsmouth.
David Robert had been born at Tunbridge Wells in 1852, the son of David and Mary Everest. David jnr. was the fourth child, his elder siblings being Mary Jane (b. 1837), Elizabeth Isabella (b. 1840) and Thomas Henry (b. 1845). David snr. was a piano tuner, piano repairer and music seller who by 1855 had established a music warehouse at Chapel Place, Tunbridge Wells.
Initially trained as a hairdresser, David Robert changed the course of his early working life when around 1870 he became a photographer's assistant and within a couple of years by setting up his own studio in Tunbridge Wells. In 1874 he married Fanny Winnifrith who was born in the same town in 1855. At the census in 1881 David and Fanny were recorded, still at Tunbridge Wells, with two children, Catherine (b. 1875) and Herbert (b. 1878) but later that year they moved to Worthing where David, who was then calling himself Robert, set up a photographer's studio. In 1882 the couple had a third child, George Winnifrith Everest.
By 1891 David Robert, Fanny and the three children had moved to Portsmouth where they were living at 3 Saxe Weimar Road, the northern half of what was later named Waverley Road in Southsea. David was described as a Commercial Traveller (Hardware) which may have meant he dealt in photographic materials. The 1898 edition Of Kelly's Directory lists David Robert back in his original trade as a hairdresser at 89 Fawcett Road, but also claiming to be a tobacconist. At about the same time George Winnifrith took up an apprenticeship in photography, working in Bournemouth, which is where he was living when his parents visited him at the time of the 1901 census.
Whilst living in Dorset George met and married Olive Ida Mills who was born at Weymouth in 1881. They then moved to Southampton where their first three children were born, Dorothy in 1904 at Woolston, Kathleen in 1905 also at Woolston and Isabel in 1907 at Bitterne. In 1909 David Robert set up a photographic studio at 56 Highland Road, Southsea, next to Highland Road Cemetery, seemingly for his son George who had moved his family back to Portsmouth and was living at 2 Glasgow Road. There he seems to have conducted a freelance photography business after the short lived Highland Road studio was sold.
George and Olive had a fourth child, John, in 1910 whilst David and Fanny had moved to 4 Festing Grove, Southsea, in time for the 1911 census. The outbreak of the Great War probably had little material impact on George and Olive as George would not have been expected to enlist, but in 1916, with the introduction of conscription he would have had little choice in the matter. On 25th May 1916 George joined the 6th Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment and then on 18th July 1917 he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps (Royal Air Force from 1st April 1918).
The Royal Air Force records describe George as 5ft 6¼inches tall with a chest measurement of 32½inches. They also provide evidence of a fifth child for George and Olive, namely Joan born 2nd October 1915. The only other information in the RAF record is that George died on 1st November 1918 in India but the RAF website says that the 31st Squadron, of which George was a member, operated "along the North West Frontier, assisting the army in dealing with tribal unrest.". It is not known where he was buried as the memorial in Karachi commemorates those men who died and were buried in India but not necessarily in Karachi.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists George Winnifrith Everest, Air Mechanic (115550), 31st Squadron, Royal Air Force, died, 01/11/1918, aged 36 years. Commemorated on the Karachi 1914-1918 War Memorial. Son of David Robert and Fanny Winnifrith Everest; husband of Olive Ida Everest of Eastney, Portsmouth.
George Everest is not commemorated on the Cenotaph in Guildhall Square, nor on any other memorial in Portsmouth. He is not listed in "The National Roll of the Great War", Section X.
Further information about David Robert Everest is available at
Tim Backhouse
January 2015