Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

It wasn't until the late 1890s that the Ewens family made the move from Petersfield to Portsmouth. It's not clear why Sidney Frank's father William Ewens was motivated to move his family south; he had been a Grocer's Assistant in Petersfield and was described as a Licenced Driver in Portsmouth. Perhaps he just needed a change.
William Ewens had actually been born a few miles outside Petersfield at the village of Harting in Sussex in 1860. He must have left there around 1880 and moved to London where he met and married his wife Emily who had been born in Camberwell in 1858. The couple soon returned to Harting where their first two children, Mary and Charles, were born in 1883 and 1884 respectively. A move to Sheet, another village near Petersfield, followed in 1888 where three more children were born, Eva in 1888, George in 1891 and Sidney Frank in 1893.
The 1901 census recorded the family living at 58 Carnarvon Road, off Powerscourt Road, North End and that another child, Harold, had been born in 1889. During the next ten years the family seems to have fallen apart - William is nowhere to be seen, Emily and her youngest son Harold were living as boarders in Pitcroft Road, North End (curiously, in the household of William EWINS) and Sidney Frank was working as a greengrocer's labourer and living as a boarder at 24 Havant Road, North End.
Sidney Frank was 21 years old when the Great War was declared but he did not enlist at the outset. He probably did so when the call went out for volunteers for the 15th Battalion (2nd Portsmouth) of the Hampshire Regiment in April 1915. After basic training the battalion were posted to the Western Front in May 1916. There they took part in the Battles of the Somme and it was during heavy fighting at Combles that Sidney Ewens was killed in October 1916.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists SF Ewens, Corporal (19429), 15th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, died, 06/10/1916, aged 23 years. Buried at the Dartmoor Cemetery, Becordel-Becourt, (Grave Ref: II.D.23.). Son of William and Emily Jane Ewens, of 1, Balfour Rd., North End, Portsmouth.
Sidney Ewens is commemorated on the Cenotaph, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth. He is listed in "The National Roll of the Great War", Section X, p295.
Tim Backhouse
January 2015