Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

In the early 1890s John Hagan, John Sydney Henry's father, moved from his family's home at St. Helen's on the Isle of Wight to Portsmouth. He was already a blacksmith working for the Royal Navy, so may have moved simply to be nearer his work but it may be significant that around May 1892 he met and married Frances Smith. By the 1901 census they had settled down into a home at 22, Cleveland Road, Southsea (off Fawcett Road). Listed with them was John Sydney Henry (then aged 7 years), Frances Annie (3) and Frederick (1).

In 1905 John Sydney Henry was sent to the Secondary School, just round the corner on Victoria Road North on a site later occupied by Priory School. No record of his time there has survived but it is known that he left in 1908 to serve as an apprentice to a carpenter. In 1911 the census records the family still at 22, Cleveland Road with John, snr, still a blacksmith in the Royal Navy, and John, jnr. a joiner's apprentice. Frances his mother and Frances his sister are still in the household but there is no mention of Frederick.
At the outbreak of war John SH Hagan joined the Navy where he was attached to H.M.S. Hampshire as one of the carpenter's crew. The ship took part in the Battle of Jutland on 31st May, 1916 and emerged safely to return to Scapa Flow. On the 5th June she was directed to carry Lord Kitchener on a diplomatic mission to Russia but at 8 o'clock in the evening in heavy seas she struck a mine laid by German submarine U-75 a few days earlier, and sank within 15 minutes. Only 12 men survived the sinking.
Further Information
The photograph above is taken from a memorial booklet published by Southern Grammar School from which extracts also appear above.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) website lists John Sidney Henry Hagan (M/6071), Carpenter's Crew, HMS Hampshire, Royal Navy, date of death, 05/06/1916, aged 23, remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial (panel 20).
John Hagan is also remembered on the Southern Grammar School WW1 Memorial and the Cenotaph.
Tim Backhouse
November 2013