Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

The census records for the Kingston family are a little confusing as names and places of birth seem to change over succeeding decades, but what is certain is that James Dennes was born in 1882 to James Kingston (b. 1855, in Cork, Ireland) and Hannah Coughlan (b. 1857, also in Cork).
There is no conclusive record of the Kingston family in the UK until the 1880s, suggesting that they had remained in Ireland until that time. It is possible that they emigrated to England as James and Hannah had three children, including James Dennes, though the couple were not married, although they rectified that situation in 1884. James Dennes was probably born in Spilsbury, Lincolnshire, but if so they moved to Portsmouth soon after as in 1891 the census lists them as living at the Langstone Coastguard Station in Eastney where James was a Coast Guard.
The 1891 census actually lists James with his wife 'Kate' rather than Hannah but the ages are much the same, as are the birthplaces, so it is assumed they are the same person. By this time they have the beginnings of a large family of at least eight children, the third born being John Dennes.
The 1901 census presents another problem in that there are two entries for James Kingston, both of whom are Mates on a dredger in Portsmouth harbour, one is apparently living aboard and the other is at 2 Jubilee Terrace, Southsea with his wife Hannah and six children including daughter Helena (b.1886). James Dennes does not appear in this census and may therefore have already joined the navy.
For the 1911 census there is a James D. Kingston recorded as being an Able Seaman aboard HMS Bramble in Shanghai Harbour. He is the right age as James Dennes but his place of birth is listed as Manchester. Back at home the Kingston family had moved to 33 Eastney Road where James was then a labourer.
Around the time the Great War broke out James Dennes was transferred to HMS Bulwark which in November 1914 was moored near Sheerness in the River Medway. At 7.50am on the 26th of that month Bulwark was ripped apart by a mighty explosion killing all but 14 members of the crew. James's body was not recovered.
Further Information
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records Able Seaman James Dennes Kingston (201061), age 32 years, date of death 26/11/1914, serving aboard HMS Bulwark. Remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial (Panel 2). Son of James and H. Kingston, of 33, Eastney Rd., Portsmouth.
James Kingston is also remembered on a family grave in Highland Road Cemetery, which also acts as a war grave for his brother Reginald Kingston, and on the Cenotaph. He is not commemorated in the National Roll of the Great War.
Tim Backhouse
March 2014