Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

Both Abel and his father Soloman were baptised with (slightly) different forenames to those by which they later became familiar. In Abel's case, he adopted the middle name Cain which was certainly not included on the Register of Births whilst his father who was throughout his life known as Soloman was actually baptised Simon Ivery. The name Simon appears nowhere else but in the Birth Register for 1839 as the census of 1841 shows he was already being referred to as Soloman. In both cases the records come from the tiny village of Stoke Abbot near Beaminster in Dorset which makes the chance of there being two people with such similar names unlikely. It is of course possible though that the birth registrar misheard the name, or perhaps even refused to register such a baby's name.
Whatever was the story behind Soloman's change of name it seems to have had no lasting effect on his life which began in ernest when he left Stoke Abbot for nearby Weymouth around 1860. He may have spent some time at sea whilst there as he doesn't appear in the 1861 census, but he was certainly ashore in 1862 when he had a child, Mary, with Elizabeth White. The couple were married two years later and settled in Portland where they had three more children, John, Elizabeth and William, born in 1866, 1869 and 1870.
In the early 1870s Portsmouth Dockyard was undergoing one of it's periodical fits of expansion which would have attracted labourers from far and wide. One of them was Soloman Ivery who brought his family from Portland to live at 23 Wellington Row whilst he worked on the extension. They remained in that street for over 30 years, though with some changes of house number, during which Soloman and Elizabeth had six more children, Susan (b. 1873), Esther (b. 1876), Eleanor (b. 1878), George (b. 1879), Abel Cain (b. 1881) and Louisa (b. 1886).
The family seems to have been unusually stable for a time when changes of domicile occurred every few years, but all that changed in the first decade of the 20th Century. In 1901 Abel Cain Ivery was the last but one of the children to leave home when he married 22 year old Phyllis Bradshaw from Chatham, who already had a three year old daughter Lilian. In 1904 Abel's mother Elizabeth died and within a few years Soloman was lodging with his daughter Esther at 49 Riga Terrace. He eventually died in 1917.
The 1911 census records Phyllis and Lilian as lodgers at 9 Stone Street whilst Abel Cain was a patient in St. Mary's Hospital, Milton which usually treated tuberculosis and other infectious diseases. He seems to have recovered totally though as by August 1914 and the outbreak of the Great War he was ready to enlist in the 1st Portsmouth Battalion, later 14th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment. After training, the battalion landed at Le Havre in March 1916 as part of the 39th Division. There they saw fighting at the Battles of the Somme and the Third Battle of Ypres before Abel Cain was killed in action in August 1917, a few months after his father Soloman had died.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) lists A Ivery, Private (203596), 14th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, died on 16/08/1917, age 35. Buried at the Bus House Cemetery, Ieper, Belgium, (Grave Ref: H.4.). Husband of Phyllis Ivery, of 15, Raglan St., Southsea, Portsmouth.
Abel Ivery is commemorated on the Cenotaph in Guildhall Square (as Ivery A.C.). He is not listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War', Section X.
Tim Backhouse
February 2015