Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

In tracing the family histories of those who died in the Great War it's more common to do so via the paternal line, simply because the evidence is more conclusive, but in William Henry's case it's his mother's line that yields more information. In any case his father, also called William, was born in Horndean and didn't move to Portsmouth until the 1890s whereas his mother Mary Eliza's family were born and bred in Portsmouth.
Following this female line is made somewhat easier in that the 1911 census shows William Henry in the same household as his grandmother Harriett Pryer as well as his mother Mary Eliza (Pink). In the census Harriett gave her age as 73 years which would mean her birthdate was in 1838 but birth registers suggest that it was actually 1832. This is supported by the 1841 census in which she appears as the nine year old daughter of Mary (or Martha) and James Terry, both of whom were born in the 18th century.
James Terry does not appear in any subsequent census but his wife Martha, Harriett and her sister Jane were recorded at 8 Grigg Sreet in 1851. After that Martha seems to have dropped out the picture whilst the 1861 census lists Harriett Terry as a servant in the household of the Railway Superintendent, based at what is now Portsmouth and Southsea Railway Station. It is at this point that Harriett seems to have lessened her stated age by the six years she maintained through out the rest of the story.
Shortly after the 1861 census Harriett married John Pryer from Chichester. John does not appear in the 1871 cenus but Harriett does, living at 13 Douro Street with their son Henry who was born in 1869 and her sister Jane Terry. John returned to the records for the next census when the family were living at 58 St. Mary's Road; two further children had been born in the meantime, Mary Eliza in 1873 and Fanny in 1876.
John Pryer must have died during the 1880s as Harriett described herself as a widow in 1891 when she was living alone as a boarder at 5 Samuel Road. Both her daughters are absent from that census but we know that Mary Eliza married William Lock from Horndean in 1896 and by 1901 was living with him at 41 Regent Street, Landport with their three children, May (b. 1893), Lilian (b. 1897) and William Henry (b. 1899).
The next few years must have been difficult for the family as first William Lock died in 1901, then Mary Eliza married Edward Pink in 1904 only for him to die in 1905, around the time that their daughter Ellen was born, and lastly, by the 1911 census, the widowed Mary Eliza lost her home and moved her family into her brother Henry's house at 37 Cuthbert Road along with her mother Harriett Pryer.
At the outbreak of the Great War William Henry was just 15 years old and so ineligible to enlist in the army. He eventually joined the 15th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment but as this was formed in April 1915 when he was still too young he either lied about his age or joined later and was assigned to the Battalion to make up for numbers lost in Battle. As his service papers are not available this cannot be resolved which just leaves the fact that he was killed in action in September 1918.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) list William Henry Lock, Private (56607), 15th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, died 04/09/1918. Buried in Voormezeele Enclosure No. 3 (Grave Ref: XVI.J.14.). Son of Mary Eliza Searle (formerly Lock), and Charles S. Searle (stepfather), of 102, Ranelagh Rd., Portsmouth.
William Lock is remembered on the Cenotaph in Guildhall Square. He is not listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War' Section X.
In 1917 William Henry's mother Mary Eliza married for the third time (to Charles Searle).
Tim Backhouse
March 2015