Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

The 1901 and 1911 censuses indicate that Sydney John was born at Portsmouth in 1892, though they spell his name variously as Sidney as well as Sydney. There seem to be no earlier census records of the Jenkins family in Portsmouth.
Birth and Marriage registers tell us that Sydney's father, William John and his mother Mary Ann Jenkins were both born on the Isle of Wight in 1857. William and Mary (nee Meguyer) were married there in early 1879. Their first confirmed appearance in the census was in 1901 when they were living at 43 Emanuel Street, Buckland. With them were their three children, Gertrude, Elsie and Sydney, born in 1889, 1891 and 1892 respectively. William John was there described as a shipwright in Portsmouth Dockyard.
The family details were all the same for the 1911 census except that Sydney was then working as a house decorator. He was 22 years old at the outbreak of the Great War and though old enough to enlist in the army did not do so immediately. Instead he waited for the call for young men to join the second of the Portsmouth Battalions, later renamed the 15th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment in April 1915.
Sydney John and the rest of the 15th Battalion landed in France in May 1916, as part of the 41st Division, where they took part in the Battles of the Somme and the Third Battle of Ypres. In November 1917 they were transferred to Italy where they stayed until March 1918 before returning to France. The battalion was then present at the First Battles of the Somme 1918 during which Sydney John Jenkins lost his life.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) lists Sydney John Jenkins, Private (18001), 15th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, died on 05/05/1918, age 26. Buried at the Esquelbecq Military Cemetery, (Grave Ref: I.C.12.). Son of William John and Mary Ann Jenkins, of 43, Emanuel St., Landport, Portsmouth.
Sydney Jenkins 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