Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

The history of the Jago family in Portsmouth goes back to before the first census, Albert's great-grandfather John Jago having arrived in the 1830s with his wife Elizabeth and their children. John had been born in Devonport in 1786 whilst Elizabeth was from Southampton where she had been born in 1791. John was a plumber and the couple were described as Bible Christians. Their third child was Matthew Jago, Albert Ernest's grandfather, who was born on 14th December 1829 at Southampton.
John and Elizabeth's first recorded address in Portsmouth was at Steward's Row, Portsea, which was later incorporated into the Dockyard. They were still there at the 1851 census but of Matthew there was no trace, either in that census or the next in 1861. Matthew had still retained local connections though as on the 22nd January 1855 he married Mary Ann Lunsbury at St. Mary's Church, Fratton.
For the 1871 census Matthew had adopted the name Mathias and was working as an assistant boilermaker. He and Mary Ann were living at 18 Albion Street, which ran west from the north end of Commercial Road down to the harbour. With them were their four children, George John (b. 1859), Thomas (b. 1862), Elizabeth (b. 1864) and Harry (b. 1871).
Of the children, George John Jago was the next link to Albert Ernest. In 1877 he married Johanna Caroline Grant who had been born at the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa in 1858. Johanna was the daughter of John Grant, a private in the army, and his wife Margaret. By 1881 George and Johanna were living at 28 Alfred Street, now part of the Dockyard, close to the Unicorn Gate. With them were their first two children, Jane (b. 1878) and Margaret (b. 1880).
The family were absent from the 1891 census and when they reappeared in 1901 they were at 3 Merry Row, Landport and four more children had been born, Albert Edward in 1882, John in 1887, Kate in 1892 and Caroline in 1895. All were born in Portsmouth. At the 1901 census George was described as an engine driver at a corset factory whilst Albert Edward was a newspaper agent.
During the next ten years the family unit fragmented. It may have begun by the death of George John in 1905 but it was followed by the loss of the home at Merry Street. Most of the children had by then left home but Caroline was with her mother Johanna at 27 Baker Street, the home of her sister Kate and her husband.
There is no trace of Albert Edward in the 1911 census which suggests that he had already joined the Royal Engineers and had been posted abroad. His early miltary career has not been traced which leaves the CWGC record as the only evidence of his service. This tells us that Albert Edward was serving in the Hampshire Fortress Company of the Royal Engineers in 1916. This company was responsible for the protection of southern coastal defences as well as the utilities such as water and electricity. He died in September 1916, presumably whilst carrying out his duties, and is buried at Kingston Cemetery.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) lists Albert Edward Jago, Sapper (2362), Royal Engineers, died on 03/09/1916, age 34. Buried at Kingston Cemetery, Portsmouth, (Grave Ref: Power's.10.6.). Son of Mrs. Johanna Caroline Jago, of 44, Upper Church Path, Landport, Portsmouth.
Albert Jago is commemorated on the Cenotaph in Guildhall Square. He is not listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War', Section X.
Tim Backhouse
February 2015