Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

The fact that Arthur Gillingham is listed as one of the dead from Portsmouth is more to do his mother's residence than his own, though he did spend a part of his childhood in the town.
Arthur's father Albert J. Gillingham was a General Hawker, who was born in Devon but spent most of his life on the road, sometimes taking his family with him. He had married his wife Rebecca, who came from South Wales, in 1885 and they had four children, all of whom were born in different places, William (b. 1886) in Taunton, Arthur (b. 1889) in Bedford, Frederick (b. 1894) in Cheltenham and Florence (b. 1898) in Portsmouth.
At the 1901 Census the family were living in Poole, Dorset, whilst in 1911 they were split up - Albert was in a lodging house in Leatherhead (where he declared himself to be single), Rebecca, Frederick and Florence were in Woolwich, William was serving with the army in India and Arthur is missing from the records. Albert died in 1912 and at some point over the next few years Rebecca moved to Portsmouth where she lived at 23 Lombard Street, within sight of the Cathedral.
According to the National Roll, Arthur Gillingham enlisted in the army in September 1914 and was posted to the Hampshire Regiment which suggests he may have been living in Portsmouth at the time. His unit was not posted to France until February 1916 where it took part in various engagements. Arthur was killed at the Battle of the Somme on 3rd September 1916 during an attack between Hamel and Beaumont-Hamel.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) website lists Private Arthur Gillingham (13997), 14th Battalion Hampshire Regiment, date of death, 03/09/1916. He is buried at Ancre British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel, Grave Ref V.C.41.
Arthur Gillingham is remembered on the Portsmouth Cathedral WW1 Memorial and on the Cenotaph. He is listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War', Section X, p87.
Arthur's brother William Gillingham was also killed in WW1.
Tim Backhouse
February 2014