Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

During the Great War many parish congregations kept a record of their losses at their local church and for many families it seems to have been enough that the sons who had given their lives were permanently remembered there. There had never before been a conflict on the scale of WW1 and the concept of the wider community commemorating it's loss in the form of a Cenotaph would have been quite unfamiliar to many. Perhaps that is why so many names, including William George Macey, are missing from the Cenotaph.
The Macey family had lived in the Landport area, with All Saints Church one of it's focal points, for the best part of three generations. In 1881 an extended family grouping of 4 adults and 8 children lived at 59 Buckland Place. The group included George Macey, the father of William George, who at that time was 8 years old. Ten years later the Census tells us that the whole family had moved to 129 Hertford Street and that George was a general labourer.
By 1894 George had met and married his wife Elizabeth and together they had set up home a few doors away from the rest of his family at 120 Hertford Street. William George was born three years later in 1897 and was followed by four sisters. In 1911 George and his family had moved to 4 Merry Row whilst he had progressed from being a labourer to a stoker for the gas company.
It is not known when William George enlisted, but as he was 17 years old at the outbreak of war he could have been in the first wave of volunteers, especially as he joined the 1st Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment. It is known that he was with the Hampshires at the Battle of the Somme on 1st July 1916, where he lost his life. Today we remember that date as being the worst for the British Army in it's entire history, taking some 60,000 casualties in one 24 hour period.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission list Private William George Macey (3/4196), 1st Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, died 01/07/1916, aged 19. He has no known grave. Remembered on the Thiepval Memorial. Son of George and Elizabeth Jane Macey, of 25, Riga Terrace, Landport, Portsmouth.
William Macey is remembered on the All Saints Church WW1 memorial but not on the Cenotaph. Neither is he listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War'.
Tim Backhouse
January 2014