Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

With stonemasons for both a father and a grandfather is was hardly surprising that William Jacob should follow the family tradition. Both his father William and his grandfather John Flook were born in Bristol and as they were living in the Clifton area it's quite possible that John worked on Brunel's Suspension Bridge across the Avon.
In the early 1870s William decided to ply his trade in Portsmouth. What may have been intended to be a short stay turned into a permanent transfer when in 1878 he married Margaret Millett, the 22 year old daughter of Royal Navy Sick Berth Steward Jacob Millett and his wife Mary Ann. The newlywed couple initially lived with Jacob and Mary Ann at 2/4 Grosvenor Street where their first child Ellen was born in 1880.
By 1891 William and Margaret were living on their own at 46 Hyde Park Road, just round the corner from Jacob and Mary Ann. With them were five more children, William Jacob (b. 1882), George (b. 1885), Thomas (b. 1887), Clara (b. 1888) and John (b. 1890). The 1901 census records the family a few doors away at 90 Hyde Park Road with another three children, Frank (b. 1894), Charles (b. 1897) and Henry (b. 1898).
There were few changes to the family's circumstances over the next decade except that William Jacob had become a stone mason and may well have been working alongside his father. All that would change with the outbreak of the Great War. William Jacob seems to have enlisted very quickly as he joined the 1st Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment which landed in France on 23rd August 1914. The Battalion fought in the Battles of Le Cateau, the Marne, the Aisne and at Messines. William Jacob did not live to see the end of 1914 having been killed in action on 19th December.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists William Jacob Flook, Private (2334), 1st Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, died, 19/12/1914, aged 32 years. Buried at the Lancashire Cottage Cemetery, (Grave Ref: I.D.16.). Brother of Mrs. C. Linkins, of go, Hyde Park Rd., Portsmouth.
William Flook 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