Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

In the 1911 Census the 11 year old William T Harwood is listed as living with his aunt Sarah Bridle at 44 Nelson Road, Mile End. Both William and Sarah gave their birth places as Guernsey. The names of William's parents are not known as the family does not appear in earlier Censuses, possibly because they still lived in Guernsey or because they had emigrated to Canada.
Aged 17 years William enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) on 3rd September 1917 and qualified as an Air Mechanic 2nd Class. He transferred to the Royal Air Force on 1st April 1918. The National Roll suggests that he requested an overseas posting but was turned down. It goes on to say that he was at the 36th Training Depot when he suffered an unexplained accident and died on 19th October 1918, however the casualty card for the RAF states that he died from 'double pneumonia'. His RAF service record contains a note that he died at Chisleden Military Hospital. His body was returned to Portsmouth where he was buried at Kingston Cemetery, Grave Reference 'Goodyears 4.2.'
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission list Air Mechanic WT Harwood (94665), Royal Air Force, died in an accident at 36th Training Depot Station on 19/10/1918, aged 19 years. Buried in Kingston Cemetery, Portsmouth. Son of Mr and Mrs Harwoood of 374 Cumberland Avenue, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
William Harwood is remembered on the All Saints Church WW1 memorial and the Cenotaph (Army Panel 3). He is listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War' Section X, p. 101, which gave his address as 44, Nelson Road, Mile End. The RAF Casualty card confirms this address and gives his next-of-kin as Mr(?) Bridle. The service record gives his next of kin as Sarah Bridle at the same address and his civilian occupation as Carpenter and Joiner.
Tim Backhouse
December 2013