Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

The likelihood of Ernest Godden joining the Royal Navy must have been high as both his father and his uncle served in the senior service. His father John was born at Portsea in 1848 and married Ernest's mother Sarah in 1874. At the time Ernest was born in 1880 John Godden was serving in the RN as an Armourer and the family were living 22 Croydon Place.
In 1899 Ernest followed his father into the navy and two years later married Alice Pink with whom he had three children; one did not survive whilst the other two were Sidney and Harold. In the early years of their marriage Ernest and Alice lived at 22 Newcomen Road but had moved to 107 Twyford Avenue by 1911.
At the outbreak of war Ernest was a Shipwright serving aboard HMS Bulwark which in November 1914 was moored near Sheerness in the River Medway. At 7.50am on the 26th of that month Bulwark was ripped apart by a mighty explosion killing all but 14 members of the crew. The body of Ernest Godden was one of relatively few to be recovered and it was transported to Portsmouth where he was buried in Kingston Cemetery.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists Shipwright 2nd Class Ernest Edward Godden, Royal Navy (343011), died on 26/11/1914, aged 34 years, serving aboard HM HMS Bulwark. He is buried at Kingston Cemetery, Portsmouth (Grave Ref: McTavish 12.29.). Husband of A. Burrows (formerly Godden), of 20, Brompton Rd., Mile End, Portsmouth.
Ernest Godden is remembered on the St. John the Baptist Church WW1 memorial. The memorial was transferred to St. Agatha's Church, Market Way when St. John's* was declared redundant in 1980. Also remembered on the Cenotaph and in the National Roll, Vol. X, p302.
Tim Backhouse
January 2014

*St. John the Baptist's Church was on Simpson Road, just north of the junction between Twyford Avenue and the Rudmore roundabout. It was converted to private accommodation.