Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

Although he was born in Bishop Auckland, Durham, William Middlewood spent most of his life in Portsmouth. His father was also called William and was born in the same town, unlike his mother Mary Matilda (nee Ingram) who was born in Sheerness in Kent. It's not known how two people from the opposite ends of the country met but it's likely that Mary had moved to Auckland before they met as the marriage was held there in 1890.
William Middlewood snr. was employed as an iron worker whilst the couple were still in Auckland but sometime in the late 1890s they moved to Portsmouth where William became a brickmaker. Their son William jnr. had already been born (in 1895) by the time they moved. The family settled at 4 Manchester Road, Fratton, where three more boys followed, Albert, James and Jack, born in 1901, 1902 and 1906 respectively.
William snr. is absent from the 1911 census but the rest of the family were at 61 East Street, Southsea where William jnr. had a job as an errand boy. At the outbreak of the Great War William jnr. was 19 years old and enlisted almost immediately. He found himself in the Royal Field Artillery and was drafted to France in March 1915. He was acting as a telephonist in the trenches in July 1917 when he was killed in action.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) list William Middlewood, Driver (1358), Royal Field Artillery, died 21/07/1917. Buried at Dickebusch New Military Cemetery Extension (Grave Ref: II.D.2.). Son of Mary Matilda Middlewood, of 61, East St., Southsea, Portsmouth.
William Middlewood is remembered on the Cenotaph in Guildhall Square. He is listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War' Section X, p154.
Tim Backhouse
March 2015