Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

There are some men who lost their lives in the Great War and are commemorated in Portsmouth who left little direct evidence of their connection to the Borough. Vivian Lang was one of them.
The 1911 Census records Vivian Lang as Officer's Steward 1st Class aboard HMS Naiad in Portsmouth waters and also offers the further information that Lang was born in 1880 in Launceston, Cornwall and was married. He does not appear in any other census record.
Marriage records show that Vivian Lang married Elizabeth Snape (b. 1883) in Barrow-in-Furness in 1904. The location for the marriage was probably governed by it's proximity to Elizabeth's birthplace at Carnforth in Westmoreland though it was also a naval shipbuilding centre. In 1905 Elizabeth gave birth to a son, also named Vivian and he was followed five years later by a second son Leslie.
At some point over the few years prior to the 1911 census Elizabeth moved to Portsmouth where she is shown living in Powerscourt Road with her sons and her mother Joyce. Vivian's part in the removal does not feature in any archive.
Vivian Lang's naval career must have begun in Plymouth, close to where he lived, probably as soon as he was old enough to sign up. He was therefore a serving sailor at the outbreak of the Great War. In November 1914 he was aboard HMS Good Hope which took part in the Battle of Coronel off the coast of South America. The ship was sunk by the German cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau with the loss of her entire crew.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists Officers Steward 1st Class Vivian Lang (356268), RN, HMS Good Hope, died 01/11/1914. Lost at sea. Remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.
Vivian Lang is also commemorated on the St. Alban's Church WW1 memorial and the Cenotaph. He is not listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War'.
Tim Backhouse
February 2014