Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

In a grave at Highland Road Cemetery in Southsea there lie several members of the Heal family including Walter George and his father George Heal. Neither was born in Portsmouth but both came to be buried there.
The father, George, was a coachman by trade but by the time the family were living in Portsmouth he had become a stud groom. As their home was in Southsea and there were no known local civilian stables he probably worked for the army which had plenty of horses. George had begun life in Devon where he was born in 1860, but he is known to have been present in Portsmouth in 1885 when he married Sophia Suvenia Stagg who had been born at Somerset in 1862. The couple stayed in Portsmouth at least until 1888 when their first child Mabel was born but not as late as 1891 when their second child, Walter George was born at Fareham. A third child Lionel (b. 1900) was also born in Fareham.
The family moved back to Portsmouth between 1901 and 1911 when they were living at 67 Duncan Road, Southsea. At the time Walter George had taken a job in a Drapery Warehouse but it's not known if he remained there beyond the outbreak of the Great War. Whenever he enlisted it was probably as a private in the Royal Field Artillery with a battlefield promotion to Second Lieutenant. Details of his death are unknown but as he is buried in Portsmouth it's quite likely that he was wounded in action and returned to Britain where he died.
Further Information
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) website lists Second Lieutenant WG Heal, Royal Field Artillery, date of death, 23/10/1918, buried at Highland Road Cemetery, Portsmouth (Grave ref: H.15.23.).
Walter Heal is commemorated on the St. Jude's Church WW1 Memorial, the St. Simon's Church WW1 Memorial and the Cenotaph. He is not listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War'.

Tim Backhouse
August 2014