Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

At the time of the 1851 census the 13 year old George Larkham, the father of Alfred Edward, was living in Blendworth, a village ten miles north of Portsmouth. He was the son of agricultural labourer John Larkham and his wife Harriet. Soon afterwards he seems to have added a few years to his age in order to join the Royal Marine Artillery and was at sea when each of the next three censuses were called. The 1871 census did however record him aboard HMS Charybdis when he had attained the rank of Sergeant.
In the early 1870s George married his wife Eliza though as no marriage details have yet been found her maiden name is unknown. The 1891 census shows that by then George had left the Marines and taken up employment as an insurance agent. It also records that Eliza had been born in Chichester and that they were living at 5 Dumbarton Street, Buckland with their five children, Ellen (b. 1874), Ernest (b. 1877), Leonard (b. 1883), Harry (b. 1884) and Alfred Edward (b. 1885).
George died in 1894 leaving Eliza and four of their children, including the sixth born, Albert Edward, living at 22 Powerscourt Road. Nine years later, in 1903, Eliza died and her daughter Ellen, then aged 29 years took over as head of the family, though only Alfred Edward and Albert Edward were still living with her in 1911. Their address then was 86 Carnarvon Road, around the corner from Powerscourt Road.
It's not known when Alfred Edward enlisted following the outbreak of the Great War but whenever he did so he was posted to the 1st (Garrison) Battalion, Devonshire Regiment which was formed in Weymouth in August 1915. From there they moved to Egypt in September that year and on to Palestine in 1917. It was possibly during the transportation to the latter that the ship on which the battalion had sailed was lost as Alfred Larkham's name appears on the Mikra Memorial, south of Thessalonika in Greece, which records the names of service personnel lost at sea in the eastern Mediterranean.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) list Alfred Edward Larkham, Private (59175), 1st Garrison Battalion, Devonshire Regiment, died 15/04/1917. Remembered on the Mikra Memorial. Husband of Harriett A. Larkham, of 59, North End Grove, Portsmouth.
Alfred Larkham 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