Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

The Long family had lived in Portsmouth since at least 1823 when William George's grandfather, Daniel Shawyer Long, was born and probably much earlier. They haven't been identified in the 1841 census which means that Daniel's marriage to Martha Biddlecombe in 1846 is the earliest confirmed record of the family.
The 1851 census found Daniel and Martha living at 8 College Lane, by The Hard in Portsea, with their two children, James and Sarah. They also had a third child, Daniel jnr., but he was not at home. Ten years later the family had moved a few doors to No. 14 College Lane and were joined by four more children, John, Joseph, Henry and William, the father of William George. Daniel snr. was a Marine Stores Dealer and when he died in 1870 Martha took over the business.
So the 1871 census found Martha as head of the family and supporting them with the dealership. She had moved them to 22 Trafalgar Place, Fratton but something seems to have happened to the family in the late 1870s as the 1881 census recorded many of them, including Martha, living in the household of her eldest son Daniel at 320 Fratton Road, north of St. Mary's Church.
In 1883 Martha's son William married Eliza Ann Stevens, the 18 year old daughter of George and Eliza Stephens of 2 Nelson Cottages which were located at the back of Trafalgar Place. William and Eliza initially settled at 30 Londesborough Road, Southsea but later moved back to Fratton where they took over Eliza's former home at Nelson Cottages. By then they had five children, Eliza (b. 1884), Nellie (b. 1887), William George (b. 1889), John (b. 1893) and Elizabeth (b. 1896). Throughout this period William had been employed in various manual jobs as labourer, coal carter and coal hawker.
By 1911 William, Eliza and their children were living at 1 Wesley Place, Church Path North whilst William George was working as a butcher's assistant. It is likely that he gave up that work to join the army in the years leading up to the outbreak of the Great War as he was a member of the 2nd Battalion, Hampshire Regiment which was in India in August 1914. They returned to England in December that year and in March 1915 sailed for Gallipoli. After seven months there the Battalion was posted to the Western Front where they fought at the Battle of the Somme 1916 and the Arras Offensive. William George was killed in action in August 1917.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) list William George Long, Private (33859), 2nd Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, died 16/08/1917. Remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial (Panel 88 to 90 and 162). Son of William George and Eliza Ann Long, of 11, Guildford St., Fratton, Portsmouth.
William 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