Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

For the son of an agricultural worker living some way away from the centre of Portsmouth the notion of improving your lot by emigrating must have been seductive. Charles Kitchingham took that route in 1912 but he could hardly have expected to be returning to fight in Europe just a few years later.
The Kitchingham family origins were in the area around Chatham in Kent, where Charles' father William was born, the son of Henry and Charlotte Kitchingham. It's not known what encouraged William to move to Portsea Island in the 1860s, but whatever it was it certainly wasn't his trade as he is listed as a carter or agricultural labourer in all the censuses.
In 1871 he appears in the census living with Frances Coffin and her two sons, William and Henry, at 2 Basin Street, Frances being described as a 'permanent visitor'. By 1881 William and Frances had married and had two children of their own, Charles and James, whilst William had adopted the two older boys. Interestingly they had moved to 3 Salterns Farm, an area on the east side of Portsea Island considered to be a separate civil parish or Rural Sanctuary District.
Charles began his working life as a carter, probably on the same farm as his father, but at the age of 30 he took passage on the SS Ionic which sailed for Wellington, New Zealand on 12th November 1910. When the Great War broke out four years later he volunteered for the Wellington Regiment of the NZEF which set sail for the conflict zone on 16th October 1914, their destination Egypt. The regiment took part in the Gallipoli campaign before being withdrawn and re-assigned to the Western Front in France. Charles Kitchingham lost his life there in July 1917.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists Charles Kitchingham (36984), Private, Wellington Regiment N.Z.E.F., died on 11/07/1917, aged 37. He was buried at Motor Car Corner Cemetery. Son of the late William and Frances Kitchingham, of Portsmouth, England.
He is commemorated on the Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral WW1 memorial and the Cenotaph. He is not listed in the National Roll of the Great War (Section 10).
The loss of Charles was not the only one experienced by the Kitchingham family as his step-brother William's son Thomas Kitchingham was also killed in WW1.
Tim Backhouse
November 2014

To Cynthia Sherwood for her research