Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) record for Edward Valentine Lambert gives his age as 33 years in 1916, implying a birth date in 1883. Birth registers however indicate that his birth actually took place at Portsmouth in the first quarter of 1889, a discrepancy of six years. In such cases we might assume that that he had exaggerated his age in order to enlist in the navy but there would never have been a need to do so to such an extent - a couple of years would have been enough. We can only assume that it is a transcription error.
The location for Edward Valentine's birth, in Portsmouth, is solely down to his father's presence in the Royal Navy and his decision to settle in the town. Edward Valentine's father was also named Edward and he had been born in Ripon, Yorkshire in 1857. He joined the navy in the 1870s and in 1888 he married his wife Annie Maria who was also from Ripon, having been born there in 1863. Edward and Annie must have decided to settle in Portsmouth soon after the wedding as their eldest child Edward Valentine was born there in 1889.
The family are missing from the 1891 census which suggests that Edward was still in the navy and had taken his wife and son abroad with him. Ten years later however they were back in Portsmouth and Edward was working as a 'provisions dealer'. They were living at 21 Thorncroft Road, Fratton and one more child, Ivy Annie, had joined the household. By 1911 the family had moved to 23 Frensham Road, Southsea but by then Edward Valentine had already left home to become a shipwright in the Royal Navy.
Nothing is known of his naval career other than that on 31st May 1916 he was aboard HMS Queen Mary as the ship steamed into the Battle of Jutland. The ship was struck by two shells, causing her magazines to explode, and sank with over 1200 members of her crew, including Edward Lambert.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) list Edward Valentine Lambert, Shipwright (347161), Royal Navy, HMS Queen Mary, died 31/05/1916. Remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial (Panel 20). Son of Edward and Annie Maria Lambert, of 23, Frensham Rd., Southsea, Portsmouth. Awarded Naval General Service Medal (Persian Gulf).
Edward Lambert is also 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