Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

As he was born in Portsmouth Ernest George is entitled to be included amongst the men of the town who died in WW1 and are commemorated on the Cenotaph, but that that is his only entitlement because he spent virtually the whole of his life, before joining the Royal Navy, in Gosport. Further, his family had lived in Gosport since his father moved there from Emsworth in the 1870s and neither of his parents or his siblings were born in or ever lived in Portsmouth (as far as can be deduced from the census records).
His father was George Manasseh Harris who had been born at Emsworth in 1852 and married Mary Ann Cross in Southampton in 1880. The couple were living in Gosport for each census after 1881. Their children were Edith, Ernest George, Harry and Nora born respectively in 1882, 1883, 1893 and 1896. Three were born in Gosport whilst Ernest George was born in Southsea. There is no obvious reason why Mary Ann gave birth to Ernest George there rather than Gosport.
George Harris would have been quite familiar with Portsmouth as he was a Stoker in the Royal Navy until the 1890s when he retired to become a school caretaker. This direct contact with the navy may help explain why Ernest George also joined the service after completing an apprenticeship as a boilermaker. Unsurprisingly he opted to become an Engine Room Artificer. The date he joined the navy is unknown unlike the date he married Violet Elizabeth Miller which was 1908.
At the outbreak of the Great War Ernest George was serving aboard HMS Good Hope which in November 1914 was part of the British South American Squadron tracking a German Squadron under Admiral Graf von Spee. Good Hope was hit by several salvos fired from the Scharnhorst and was then rocked by a large explosion which caused her to sink with the loss of her entire crew, including Ernest George Harris.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) lists Ernest George Harris, Engine Room Artificer 2nd Class (271658), HMS Good Hope, Royal Navy, died 01/11/1914, aged 31 years. Commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, (Panel 3). Husband of Violet E. Harris, of 34, Mortimore Rd., Brockhurst, Gosport, Hants. Native of Portsmouth.
Ernest Harris is also commemorated on the Cenotaph, Guildhall Square. He is not listed in "The National Roll of the Great War", Section X.
Tim Backhouse
February 2015