Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

In 1891 one of the wardens at Winchester prison was John Knox, the father of Burton Thomas Knox. By 1901 John Knox had been transferred to Kingston Prison, Portsmouth, and had moved his family to the town. He was probably not displeased with the move as his wife Mary had been born in Portsmouth.
John had been born in Scotland in 1840 and probably joined one of the armed forces at an early age which might explain how, on a posting to Portsmouth, he met his wife Mary. The couple were certainly in the East Indies in 1870 when their first son George was born, but were back in England, at Winchester, ten years later for the birth of a second son James. Two more boys, Burton Thomas and John jnr. followed in 1884 and 1888.
The first recorded address (1901 census) for the Knox family in Portsmouth was at Warren Lane, Milton, then still a small relatively undeveloped village. At the time only Burton and John jnr. were still living with their parents. In 1906 Burton also left home to marry Alice Payne, the daughter of James and Alice Payne who also happened to live on Warren Lane. Burton and Alice however decided to move a bit further away and were found by the 1911 census at 13 Mayhall Road, Copnor. With them were their two children, Leslie Harold Burton and Constance Alice, born in 1908 and 1910 respectively.
As a married man with a young family Burton Thomas would have been under no pressure to enlist following the outbreak of the Great War but when conscription was introduced in January 1916 he would have had little choice in the matter. Once signed up Burton Thomas was assigned to the East Yorkshire Regiment which for the first half of 1916 was fighting at Gallipoli. It's not known whether Burton joined them there or after July 1916 when they had been transferred to the Western Front. Either way he probably took part in the Battles of the Somme 1916 and the Third Battle of Ypres. He was killed in action in November 1917.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) list Knox B.T., Corporal (40563), East Yorkshire Regiment, died 29/11/1917. Buried at Maroc British Cemetery, Grenay (Grave Ref: II.M.18.). Son of John and Mary Ann Knox, of Winchester; husband of Alice Knox, of 23, Warren Avenue, Milton, Portsmouth.
Burton Knox is remembered on the Cenotaph in Guildhall Square. He is not listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War' Section X.
Tim Backhouse
March 2015