Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

The Hoare family were associated with Portsmouth for the whole of the 19th Century and probably a few decades either side of it. During much of that time various members of the family were also involved with the Royal Navy. The census and other records confirm the Portsmouth connection across four generations but they cannot be quite so precise about their service with the navy. It is certain that William Henry, his father Charles and his grandfather Henry Hoare all spent time in the navy but when it comes to his great-grandfather Henry Hoare snr. we can only speculate that he may well have been a mariner in his younger days.
The 1851 census lists great-grandfather Henry living at George's Row, off Commercial Road, an area known for it's slums. At the time he was 50 years old, had been born in Portsea and was described as a 'Labourer, Pauper'. Ten years earlier he had been living on Oxford Street, Landport which was only marginally better property. There is no evidence to suggest that he had formerly been a sailor but many of them from that era could only find work as a labourer after leaving the service with no transferrable skills.
With Henry, at both George's Row and Oxford Street, were his wife Eliza, ten years Henry's junior, and, by 1851, eight children, which may go some way to explaining why he was a pauper. The children were Maria, Henry jnr., Charles, William, Eliza, Alfred, Sarah and John, all born in Portsea between 1831 and 1851. Of these it is Henry jnr., grandfather of William Henry, that we shall follow.
In 1854 Henry jnr. married Ellen Perriton at St. Thomas's Church, Portsmouth and by 1861 they were living at 31 Chance Street, just north of Charlotte Street, Landport. By the time of the census that year Henry was already in the Royal Navy and away from home when it was called. This left Ellen bringing up their three children, Henry (the third), Ellen and Charles who were born in 1856, 1857 and 1859 respectively.
The family were still at Chance Street at the census in 1871 by which time one more child had been born, William in 1864. Henry and Ellen's son Charles, William Henry's father, is the next in line and he left home to join the Royal Navy in the 1870s. The 1881 census found Charles as a shipwright at Portland and noted that he was married, the marriage to Henrietta Delyon, having taken place at Camberwell in 1874. The couple had no children at that time but three arrived within the next ten years, Charles jnr. (b. 1883), William Henry Hoare (b. 1886) and Henrietta jnr. (b. 1888).
In the 1880s Charles snr. was posted to Govan in Scotland where he, Henrietta and two of their children were recorded for the 1891 census, but by 1901 the family was back in Portsmouth, living at 153 New Road. Charles snr. had by then been promoted to Warrant Officer and at the time of the 1911 census he and Henrietta were out of the country. That left William Henry and his sister Henrietta to mind the family home at 7 New Road East.
The 1911 census also tells us that William Henry had not yet joined the navy as he was described as a 'Driller, HM Dockyard' but he must have done so within the next couple of years. The course of his service career is unknown at present but in November 1914, shortly after the outbreak of the Great War, it is known that he was serving aboard HMS Good Hope as part of the British South American Squadron tracking a German Squadron under Admiral Graf von Spee. The two forces met off the coast of Chile and during the ensuing engagement 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 William Henry Hoare.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) lists William Henry Hoare, Able Seaman (238331), HMS Good Hope, Royal Navy, died 01/11/1914, aged 26 years. Commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, (Panel 2). Son of Henry William and Sarah Hoare, of 16, Burleigh Rd., Buckland, Portsmouth.
William Hoare 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