Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

Like so many others the Hart family were probably drawn to Portsmouth by the prospect of work in the Dockyard. Clifford's father Thomas Clifford Hart was a ship's joiner born in Carmarthen in 1870 and he was probably working in another dockyard before transferring to Portsmouth in the early 1900s, but records that might verify this have not been located.
Thomas had married Annie Marie Davies at Pembroke in 1893 where she had been born in 1868, the daughter of George Davies. The couple settled initially in Pembroke where their first child Clifford George Colin was born in 1895, but by 1904 they had made the move to Portsmouth where two more children were born, Bessie in 1904 and George in 1905.
The 1911 census found the family at 7 Carnarvon Road, off Powerscourt Road. By that time Clifford George had taken up an engine fitter's apprenticeship which, sometime around the outbreak of the Great War, he exchanged for a career in the Royal Navy. In May 1916 he was aboard HMS Hampshire which was assigned to the task of transporting Lord Kitchener and his entourage to Russia. They set out from Scapa Flow and soon encountered a force nine gale which was being weathered when she probably hit a mine and sank killing all her crew except for 12 crewmen who made it to shore alive. Clifford Hart was one of those lost.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) list Engine Room Artificer 4th Class Clifford George Colin Hart (M/15562), Royal Navy, HMS Hampshire, died 05/06/1916. Commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial (Panel 15).
Clifford Hart 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