Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

The documentary record of the Godding family in Portsmouth goes back to the dawn of the 19th century and quite possibly much further. The earliest evidence comes from the 1841 census which contains a record of Henry Arthur's grandfather James Godding who was born at Portsmouth in 1808. That census also shows James living at Chalton Street, close to Flathouse Road and Portsmouth harbour, with his wife Louisa and their two daughters Rosetta and Louisa, born in 1837 and 1841 respectively. James was described as a labourer in that and each of the subsequent two censuses.
The 1851 census shows that James and Louisa had made a notable improvement in the standard of their accommodation in moving into 25 Albert Street, off Commercial Road. This was one of the first housing developments to take place on the ancient Cherry Garden Field and was laid out in the mid 1840s. The Goddings therefore may well have been the first occupants of the house. Their daughter Louisa did not accompany her parents to the new address as she had died aged 5 years in 1846 but a new baby boy named William, who had been born the year after, did.
Ten years later the family had moved down the road to 49 Albert Street and grown by the addition of two more boys, Henry (b. 1852) and James Joseph (b. 1856). Their surviving sister Rosetta was also listed in the household despite having married a sailor, George Henry Devereux in 1857. Over the next few years both Louisa and Rosetta lost their husbands, James in 1862 and George probably overseas as no record exists in the UK. James Joseph does not appear in the 1871 census but he does however in the marriage register for 1876 when he married Mary Ann Baigent but sadly she died just four years later.
The 1881 census shows James Joseph, a labourer and widower, living at 55 Hope Street with his sister Rosetta who had married John Polhill in 1871 and then lost him when he died in 1875. Curiously Rosetta is described as James Joseph's mother rather than his sister. James Joseph also re-married a few years later when in 1886 he married Amelia Davies who was ten years his junior. In April 1891 James, Amelia and Rosetta (by then listed as Rosetta Softley) were recorded living at 14 Flying Bull Lane.
The Godding family's cycle of marriage and loss of spouse continued into the 1890s when Amelia Godding died in 1893 and James Joseph married for the third time the following year. This time it was to Ada Ellard from Winchester who became the only wife to provide James Joseph with children, five in total though three died in infancy. The two to survive were Henry Arthur (b. 1900) and William (b. 1901). James, Ada, the two boys and Rosetta were recorded at 62 Seymour Street in 1901 and at 23 School Lane, off Sultan Road, in 1911.
At the outbreak of the Great War Henry Arthur was just 14 years old and had to wait till November 1917 before he was old enough to enlist. After training he was posted the following year to the 2nd/4th Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment as a replacement for losses on the battlefield. He did not survive long there, being killed in action in July 1918.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) list Private HA Godding (44883), 2nd/4th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, died 21/07/1918. Buried at the Terlincthun British Cemetery, Wimille (Grave Ref: XVII.D.23.).
Henry Godding is commemorated on the Buckland United Reformed Church WW1 Memorial and on the Cenotaph. He is listed in "The National Roll of the Great War", Section X, p88.
Tim Backhouse
November 2014