Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

Three generations of Gundry's all named George were born in Portsmouth, George Gerald in 1895, his father George Edward in 1866 and his grandfather George James in 1832. The tradition may well have gone further back but his great-grandfather was away for the 1841 census so his name was not recorded.
The 1841 census nevertheless records George James living at Trafalgar Street with his mother Mary and siblings William and Harriett, all of whom were born on Portsea Island. None of the family are listed in the censuses of 1851 or 1861 and when they do re-appear in 1871 George James is recorded as a beer retailer at the 'Navy and Friends', 2 Sydney Place, later Flathouse Road, a pub that survived until 1985, though latterly renamed 'The Vernon'. With him were his wife Mary Ann (nee Steele or Bowers) whom he had married in 1862 and their children Annie (b. 1863), George Edward (b. 1866) and Harriett (b. 1869).
The family were still at Sydney Place for the 1881 Census in which George James described himself as a Navy Pensioner as well as publican which, if he was at sea at the time, would explain why he didn't appear in the earlier censuses. His wife Mary was listed alongside him as were two more children Isabelle (b. 1867) and Emily (b. 1874). By the following census the family had left the pub and taken up accommodation at Wanstead House on Commercial Road. A further four children are listed, all of whom had been born by the time of the previous census but who for some reason were not at home at the time. They were Ada (b. 1872), Laura (b. 1876), Harry (b. 1877) and Arthur (b. 1880). George Edward was also in the household with his wife Charlotte (nee Taylor, from South Shields) who he had married in 1891. Presumably George had met her whilst working as a Master Mariner and visiting Durham.
George and Charlotte seem to have settled initially in South Shields where, although George was absent for the 1901 census, Charlotte was recorded with the couple's four children, Eva (b. 1894), George Gerald (b. 1895), Elsie (b. 1897) and Muriel (b. 1900). By 1911 however the family were in Portsmouth living at 44 Angerstein Road though Charlotte was not with them as she had died in 1904. George Gerald had by then left school and was working as Marine Engineering Apprentice.
At some point George Gerald exchanged the apprenticeship for a career in the Royal Navy, but it's not known whether he did so before or after the outbreak of the Great War. George survived the war and was serving aboard HMS Penarth when on 4th February 1919 the ship struck a mine and sank with the loss of 2 officers and 33 ratings, one of whom was George Gundry.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) list Engine Room Artificer 4th Class George Gerald Gundry (M/30849), Royal Navy, HMS Penarth, died 06/02/1919. Commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial (Panel 32).
George Gundry is also commemorated on the Buckland United Reformed Church WW1 Memorial and on the Cenotaph. He is not listed in "The National Roll of the Great War", Section X.
Tim Backhouse
November 2014