Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

Deciding to join the Royal Marines was probably not a difficult choice for Charles William Lucking, as he was simply following in his father's footsteps though by the time he did so his father, Alfred, had retired from the service.
Alfred Lucking had been born at Hatfield Peverell, Essex in 1850 to parents William (an agricultural labourer) and Eliza. He probably joined the Royal Marines as soon as he was eligible and the first time he appears in the census afterwards was 1871 when he was recorded at Walmer Barracks, Kent. Ten years later he was aboard HMS Minotaur under the command of Vice Admiral Hood. At about the same time Alfred married his wife Georgina who had been born at Southsea in 1863. They had their first child Charles William in 1883, a second (Samuel?) in 1887 and a third, Elizabeth in 1888. The 1891 census found the couple, with the children, at Eastney Barracks.
In the 1890s Alfred left the Royal Marines and took a job as a labourer at Gunwharf. He and Georgina also found a house at 5 Boulton Road, Southsea and moved in with their family which then included two more children, Florence (b. 1894) and Arthur (b. 1896). At about the time that Alfred was retiring from the Marines Charles William was thinking of joining them which he had accomplished by the time of the 1901 census when he was living at Eastney Barracks again, though not in married quarters this time.
In early 1902 Charles William married Edith Ellen Pragnell at Portsea. She had been born in 1884 at South Stoneham to parents John (a florist) and Emma but Charles would not have had to travel far to have first met her as the Pragnell family had moved to Portsmouth and were living a few doors from his parents at 9 Boulton Road. In 1903 the couple's first child Charles Victor was born and they found a place to live at 61 Adair Road in Eastney - a stone's throw from the the Barracks.
At the outbreak of the Great War Charles William was serving aboard HMS Lion which was the flagship of Admiral Beatty’s force of Battlecruisers at the Battles of Heligoland Bight, Dogger Bank and Jutland on 31st May 1916. At the latter, Lion was deeply involved in the ensuing fight which cost the lives of 99 men of her crew, including Charles William Lucking, with another 51 wounded, but the ship herself survived to reach Rosyth on 2nd June 1916.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission list Sergeant Charles William Lucking, (RMA/7398), Royal Marine Artillery, HMS Lion, died 31/05/1916. Has no known grave and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial (Panel 21). Son of Alfred and Georgina Lucking, of Portsmouth; husband of Edith Ellen Lucking, of 21, Ashby Place. Osborne Rd., Southsea, Portsmouth.
Charles Lucking is also commemorated on the St. Jude's Church WW1 Memorial, the WW1 Roll of Honour at the Royal Marines Museum and the Cenotaph. He is not listed in "The National Roll of the Great War", Section X.
Charles William and Edith Ellen remained at Adair Road at least until 1913 (Kelly's Directory), but after the war had ended Edith moved to 21 Ashby Place in central Southsea (Kelly's Directory, 1921). Interestingly, at No. 19 Ashby Place was her widowed mother Emma Pragnell (b.1854) and her siblings Albert (b. 1891) and Ethel (b. 1893) whilst at No. 5 was Queen's Motor Garage run by her brother John Pragnell (b. 1875). It seems that Edith liked to be close to her family, especially after the death of Charles.
Tim Backhouse
August 2014