Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

Like so many others, Charles Samuel's connection to Portsmouth was solely a consequence of serving with the Royal Navy. He had been born in the district of Camberwell in London in 1879, the son of Joshua and Mary Jane Finch and had joined the navy by his 20th birthday. He would have known Portsmouth as a place to visit whenever he was on a ship in port, but then he met and married his wife, 18 year old Mabel Lilian in 1908. She too may have been a visitor to the town as she was born in Worthing, Sussex.
Charles and Mabel found a place to live at 2 Hunter Road, Eastney where in 1911 Mabel gave birth to a son, Charles Frederick Joshua. Three years later the Great War began and it found Charles Samuel serving on board HMS Queen Mary as a Sick Berth Steward. On 31st May 1916 the ship took part in the Battle of Jutland where the Queen Mary was struck by two shells causing her magazines to explode, sinking the ship. Over 1200 members of the crew, including Charles Finch, were lost.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) lists Charles Samuel Finch, Sick Berth Steward, HMS Queen Mary, Royal Navy, died, 31/05/1916. Commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, (Panel 20). Son of Joshua and Mary Jane Finch, of Hollydale Rd., Nunhead, London; husband of Mabel Lilian Finch, of 124, Telephone Rd., Southsea, Portsmouth.
Charles Finch 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