Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

In 1901 the 10 year old Charles Fox was living with his family at Clarence Barracks, a collection of large Victorian buildings south of what is now (2015) Museum Road in Portsmouth. The current City Museum is housed in the only one of those buildings to have survived. Charles was there with his family as his father Alfred Fox was a gunner in the Royal Artillery, as he had been for the previous 20 years.
Alfred was born and raised in Minterne Magna, a tiny village a few miles north of Cerne Abbas in Dorset, where his father was an agricultural carter. Apparently the prospects at this remote place did not satisfy him as by the age of 21 he had joined the Royal Artillery. In 1881 the census found him at Aldershot with his regiment and a few years later it is known that he was in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. There he met and married his wife Bridget.
Alfred and Bridget set up home in Londonderry where their three eldest children were born, Charles (in 1891), Martha (in 1894) and Alexander in 1895. Alfred was then posted to Dublin where another child, Lucy, was born in 1901 but by April that year he was transferred to Portsmouth where he installed his family in barracks. Their two youngest children, Joseph and Arthur, may have been born there in 1903 and 1904 respectively but equally Alfred and Bridget may have already taken private accommodation. Whenever they did so they found one of the older houses in Portsmouth in which to live, 134 High Street, directly opposite Cambridge Barracks. Alfred did not have long to enjoy it as he died in 1904 but Bridget continued to live in the house until the 1920s.
In 1911 the census recorded Charles Fox, still living with his mother and working as a theatre attendant. He may not have enlisted immediately after the outbreak of the Great War but whenever he did so he was posted to the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. With them Charles landed in France in May 1915, finding himself in the 14th (Light) Division fighting at the Somme and Arras. He lost his life in March 1917.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) lists Fox, C, Private, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, died 12/03/1917. Buried at Beaurains Road Cemetery, (Grave Ref: C.10.). Son of Mrs. B. Fox, of 134, High St., Portsmouth.
Charles Fox 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