Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

The Royal Navy was a continuous theme in the Levett family, linking Walter George with his father Walter Alfred, his grandfather Henry James and quite possibly his great-grandfather John Levett.
Much of the evidence about John is circumstantial because he does not appear in any census, but research suggests that in 1841 he may have been away at sea, leaving his wife Jane, nee Roberts, whom he married at St. Mary's Church, Portsea on 23rd October 1825, at their home on Frederick Street with their three children, Mary, Henry James and Jane, born in 1827, 1829 and 1838 respectively.
Some doubt also exists about Henry James Levett who similarly does not appear in the censuses for 1851 and 1861 but as it's known he was in the navy this is not surprising. What is also known is that he married Elizabeth Roberts in 1853, though whether Elizabeth was related to Jane Roberts is unconfirmed. It is possible that Elizabeth lived with Henry James before they were married as in the 1851 census there is an Elizabeth Roberts who declared herself to be the wife of a mariner but who could not be traced in later censuses.
Henry James left the navy in the 1860s and in 1871 was living with Elizabeth at 2 St. John's Street, Portsea. With them were their three children, Frances (b. 1857), Henry jnr. (b. 1861) and Walter Alfred (b. 1863). The first two had been born in Portsea but Walter Alfred's birthplace was Titchfield. No other connection to that area has been located. By 1881 Walter Alfred was living with his sister Frances at 36 Netley Street and in 1887 he married Clarinda Sarah, the daughter of George and Emma Hellyer of Nile Street.
Sometime in the 1880s Walter Alfred joined the Royal Navy as a stoker. He was at sea when the 1891 census was called, leaving Clarinda at their shared home in 35 Lawson Road, Southsea with their two children, Walter George (b. 1888) and Emma (b. 1890). Walter Alfred was home in time for the 1901 census when the family were recorded living at 71 Highfield Street, off Somers Road, Southsea. Clarinda was by then referring to herself as Clara, a practice she maintained for at least the next 20 years.
By the time Walter Alfred had left the navy in the early 1900s, his son Walter George had taken over the family tradition and joined the service himself. Nothing is currently known of his naval career except that in September 1918 he was an Able Seaman serving on board HMS Victory which may have been the barracks of the same name or the Shore Training establishment. On 15th of that month he died, possibly from influenza, and was buried in Kingston Cemetery, Portsmouth.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) list Walter George Levett, Able Seaman (J/16995), Royal Navy, HMS Victory, died 15/09/1918. Buried in Kingston Cemetery, Portsmouth (Grave Ref: Billing's.12.11.). Son of Walter A. and C. S. Levett, of 19, Highfield St., Portsmouth.
Walter Levett 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