Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

The carpentry trade, specifically in shipbuilding, ran through the Hellyer family for at least three generations including Albert John, and all of it took place in Portsmouth.
The earliest of the Hellyer shipwrights that appear in the census records was William Henry Hellyer who in 1841 was living in Abercrombie Street with his wife Ann and two sons, William and Henry Thomas. William snr. had been born at Portsmouth in 1809 and married Ann Adams, who had been born a year later, at St. Mary's Church, Portsea on 16th June 1833. The boys were born in 1834 and 1837. By 1851 the family had moved to West Street, Southsea and both boys had begun work as carpenter's apprentices.
None of the family appear in the 1861 census so the next entry in the records was the marriage between Henry Thomas Hellyer and Sarah Ann Hill (or possibly Towell) in 1866 followed by their entry in the 1871 census when the couple were living at 1 King Street, Southsea. With them were four children, Henry James (b. 1864), William (b. 1868), Albert John (b. 1868) and Ernest (b. 1870). Henry James must therefore have been born before his parents marriage.
1881 saw the family at 30 Olinda Street, off St Mary's Road with four more children, Sydney, Winifred Lavinia, Alfred and Priscilla born in 1872, 1873, 1878 and 1880 respectively. Ten years further on and the family had moved round the corner to 52 Alver Road whilst Albert John had completed his shipwright's apprenticeship. Shortly after, Albert John joined the Royal Navy and was serving on the China station at the time of the census in 1901.
By 1903 Albert John had returned to Portsmouth and that year married Elizabeth Eleanor Wigmore at Southampton. The couple seem to have set up home at 27 Haslemere Road, Southsea. They had two children, according to the 1911 census, Albert and Cecil, born in 1905 and 1907, but at the time Albert John was once more at sea. At the outbreak of the Great War he was serving as a carpenter 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 Albert John Hellyer.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) lists Albert John Hellyer, Carpenter, HMS Good Hope, Royal Navy, died 01/11/1914, aged 46 years. Commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, (Panel 1). Son of Mr. H. and Mrs. S. A. Hellyer, of Portsmouth; husband of E. E. Grayston (formerly Hellyer), of 175, Fratton Rd., Portsmouth. Awarded China Medal (1900).
Albert Hellyer 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