Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

In common with many other citizens, Charles Jones owed his connection to Portsmouth to the fact that his father Henry had served in the army, spent part of his time in barracks at the town and whilst there found a local woman to marry. Henry had been born in Whitechapel, London in 1870 and joined the Army Service Corps before his 20th birthday. Henry's posting to Portsmouth lasted only a few years, but it was long enough for him to meet and marry Alice Rayner who had been born in Portsmouth in 1876.
The couple married in Portsmouth in 1893 and by 1901 were living at 47 Cyprus Road, just north of New Road, Buckland. Henry was probably still in the army at the time as he was not with his family when the 1901 census was called. He had certainly been at home several times since the marriage though as he and Alice had three children, George (b. 1895), Charles (b. 1896) and William (b. 1899).
After leaving the army Henry found work as a carter for a merchant in skins and hides. By 1911 the family were living at 14 New Road East, Copnor and the census that year records the birth of two more children, Mabel in 1903 and Lily in 1909. Charles left home around 1912 in order to join the Royal Navy as a stoker. He must have been good at his job as by 1916 he was ranked 1st Class. On the 31st May 1916 Charles was serving aboard HMS Black Prince when she took part in the Battle of Jutland as part of the 1st Cruiser squadron. During the action she lost touch with the fleet and blundered right into the German's path. She was hit repeatedly by heavy shells and blew up with the lost of her entire crew, including Charles Jones.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) lists Charles Jones, Stoker (K/19420), Royal Navy, HMS Black Prince, died on 31/05/1916, age 21. Commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, (Panel 18). Son of Mrs. A. Jones, of 22, New Rd., East Copnor, Portsmouth.
Charles Jones 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