Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

If his parents hadn't decided to retire to Portsmouth it's unlikely that Arthur Ernest's name would appear on the Cenotaph in Guildhall Square. That is not to say that Arthur had no direct connection to Portsmouth because he did, he was born in the Borough in 1892, it's just that he only spent a few years in the town and even that time may have been spent in barracks.
Arthur's father Harold Fleetwood was a Master Gunner in the Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA) and as such would have spent a lot of his life in barracks. He would certainly have been in some sort of military compound around 1890 whilst serving in Malta but obviously had enough free time to meet and marry his wife Annie who had been born on the island. His next posting was at Portsmouth and he brought Annie with him though it's not known if they lived in barracks or took private accommodation.
The Portsmouth posting must have been longer than he was generally used to as all three of the children born to Harold and Annie were born in the town. They were Arthur Ernest (b. 1892), Albert (b. 1895) and Florence (b. 1900). Around 1901 Harold was posted to St. Mary's on the Scilly Islands but beyond that it's not known what happened to Harold and Florence until they turned up in Milton, Portsmouth in 1921. We do know however that somewhere along the way Arthur Ernest left the family home to follow his father into the RGA.
The 1911 census records 18 year old Arthur serving as a trumpeter at Fort Ferozepore in the Punjab. After the outbreak of the Great War he probably accompanied the 47th Trench Mortar Battery to their posting in France from November 1915. He was on the Western Front until he lost his life in June 1916.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) lists Arthur Ernest Fleetwood, Corporal (26825), Royal Garrison Artillery, died, 25/06/1916, aged 23 years. Buried at the Tranchee De Mecknes Cemetery, Aix-Noulette, (Grave Ref: E.3.). Son of William 0. Fleetwood (late R.M.A.) and Annie Fleetwood, of 20, Shelford Rd., Milton, Portsmouth. Nine years' service.
Arthur Fleetwood is commemorated on the Cenotaph, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth. He is not listed in "The National Roll of the Great War", Section X.
The CWGC name Arthur Ernest's father as William O. Fleetwood but all other available records give his first name as Harold. Kelly's Directory for 1921 supports the latter as it lists Harold Fleetwood living at 20 Shelford Road, Milton.
Tim Backhouse
January 2015