Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

This record should be read in conjunction with that for Robert Charles Long, Joseph's brother, who died as a result of wounds received on the Great War battlefield just a month before him, though in Joseph's case it's unlikely he ever saw action.
The 1911 census tells us that Joseph, who was born in 1899, was living at 40 Baker Street, Buckland with his mother Ada Maria and brothers Robert Charles, William, Alfred and Frederick who were born in 1894, 1900, 1901 and 1903 respectively. His father was not present at the time but when we turn to the 1901 census we find that he was named Joseph and that he was a stoker in the Royal Navy, which probably explains his absence ten years later.
The marriage register tells us that Joseph married Ada Maria Watson in the second half of 1892. Ada was the daughter of David and Jane Watson and was born at Portsmouth in 1869. The records then throw up a conundrum, at least it appears that way to modern eyes. Joseph gave his age in the 1901 census as 25 which closely agrees with the birth register which gives a birth date of 1877 (2nd quarter). Both of these place Joseph's age at the time he married Ada Maria as 15 years. This, to say the least, is uncommonly young, but not illegal. Until 1929 anyone under the age of 21 could get married if they had parental permission.
In Joseph's case those parents were probably Joseph and Emma Long but the documentary evidence is inconclusive mainly because Joseph snr. did not appear in a census after the marriage to Emma. This in turn makes it likely that he was serving in the Royal Navy, an example that would be followed by his son Joseph jnr. but not his grandson Joseph David.
When the Great War began on 4th August 1914 Joseph David was 15 years of age and so would not have been eligible to enlist in the army. When he did so he joined the Royal Engineers and was probably involved in maintaining sea defences around Portsmouth. He died at home in August 1916 from either sickness or injury, and was buried in Portsmouth, alongside his brother Robert Charles.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) list Joseph D. Long, Boy (1782), 2nd/3rd Hants Fortress Company, Royal Engineers, died 22/08/1916. Buried in Kingston Cemetery, Portsmouth (Grave Ref: Scadden's.4.35.). Son of Mrs. A. M. Long, of 40, Baker St., Mile End, Landport, Portsmouth.
Joseph Long 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