Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

The Field family did not originate from Portsmouth but arrived in the borough in the form of Arthur's grandfather John Field who had been living in Olney, Buckinghamshire before his move south in the late 1840s. The next few years saw him set up a linen draper's business, with his brother Thomas, at 157 Queen Street, Portsea and marry Charlotte Hunter with whom he had a son John jnr. in 1851.
The expertise in linen drapery was probably learnt from their father William who had been a tailor in Olney and must have been proud of his sons' abilities, for within a year or so they were employing two men and one apprentice. Thomas, though, did not stay long in the business as he was gone by 1861. It must have helped that the business was on Queen Street, the main thoroughfare leading away from HM Dockyard, and passed daily by hundreds of sailors. Unlike many of the tailors on Queen street he doesn't seem to have specialised in naval uniforms but instead stuck to linen, an important part of an officer's sea chest. Regardless of the seemingly niche market John inhabited he certainly prospered as the shop remained a feature of Queen Street until John's death in 1893.
In the intervening period John and Charlotte built up a sizable family of ten children from the eldest John to the youngest Alfred who was born in 1867. The second youngest was Arthur Ernest Field who by the 1880s had begun his own successful career as an auctioneer. In 1895 Arthur Ernest married Jessie Ann Emery, a draper's assistant and daughter of Henry and Jane Emery of St. James's Street, Portsea. Arthur and Jessie set up home at 3 King's Road in Southsea before moving to a more substantial property at Beechwood, London Road, North End. They had only one child, Arthur Dudley Field who was born in 1896.
The opening years of the Great War were an eventful time for Arthur Dudley. He had celebrated his 18th birthday a couple of months before the declaration of war in August 1914 and probably joined the army soon after. He was posted as a Lieutenant in the Royal Garrison Artillery. The following year, still only 19 years of age he married 24 year old Ella D. Leather, the daughter of Charles and Letitia Leather of Portland House, London Road, North End. In 1916 he was killed during the Battles of the Somme.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) lists Arthur Dudley Field, Lieutenant, Royal Garrison Artillery, died, 04/07/1916. Buried at the Albert Communal Cemetery Extension, (Grave Ref: I.A.1.). Only son of Arthur E. and Jessie A. Field; husband of Ella D. Field, of Portland House, London Rd., Portsmouth. Born at Portsmouth.
Arthur Field 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