Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

It is one of the supreme ironies of war that even after hostilities had ceased there were still men losing their lives as a direct cause of the war. Percy William Fox died just nine days after Armistice Day.
Unlike most of the families in Portsmouth, the Fox family remained in the same house for the best part of 20 years, including most, if not all, of Percy William's life before he was called to war. In 1911 No. 18 Cobourg Street was the home of William T. Fox (b. 1867 and listed as a blacksmith in HM Dockyard), his wife Isabella (b. 1871) and their children Frederick (b. 1893), Percy William (b. 1895), Nellie (b. 1901), Bessie (b. 1908) and Gladys (b 1910). Percy William was described as a warehouse boy for a corset manufacturer.
Percy William's father William T. Fox probably moved to Cobourg St. after marrying Isabella in 1892. Prior to that he had been living at 29 Spring Street with his mother Mary (b. 1831) and his step father Elias Ford, his birth father Thomas (b. 1826) having died in 1873.
At the outbreak of the Great War Percy William was called up to serve with the Royal Engineers as he probably had previously served with them. In the following year they were drafted to Mesopotamia where he saw action at Kut-el-Amara and Sanna-i-Yat. His unit, the 506th Field Company were attached to the 28th Division which was in Bulgaria when hostilities there ceased in September 1918. The Division was ordered to Gallipoli in early November 1918 where they occupied the Dardanelles Forts. Sometime in late 1918 he contracted Malarial Fever from which he died in November that year.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists Sapper Percy William Fox, (518266), 506th Field Company, Royal Engineers, died on 20/11/1918, aged 23 years. He is buried in the Chanak Consular Cemetery, Grave Ref: I.D.2. Son of William T. and Isabella Fox, of 18, Cobourg St., Fratton, Portsmouth.
Percy Fox is also remembered on the Cenotaph in Portsmouth. He is listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War', Section X, 81.
Tim Backhouse
March 2014