Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

Born at Egham in Surrey on 28th May 1898, Basil Miles spent only a few years in Portsmouth and they were immediately prior to the outbreak of the Great War. In contrast, both his parents, Henry William and Charlotte Miles were born on Portsea Island.
Henry was born in 1863 as is confirmed by the birth register but that is the only documentary evidence of him being in Portsmouth before 1885 when he married Charlotte, daughter of Richard and Rebecca Cousens. Almost immediately after the wedding the couple moved to Egham where Henry had a job running the railway station book stall. Over the next fifteen years Henry and Charlotte brought nine children into the world. They were Voilet, Madeleine, Eleanor, John, Grace, Dorothy, Basil, Henry and Charles.
The 1911 census reports that most of the family had moved to Portsmouth where they were living at 120 Somers Road, Southsea. Henry was no longer an employee of the railway company but had branched out on his own as a bookseller and newsagent. He must have been moderately successful as he was able to move to a larger house on Victoria Road South before 1922.
Basil was sixteen years old when the Great War began and therefore not eligible to enlist. It's not known when he did so but whenever that was he did so at Peckham and was posted to the Royal Horse Artillery as a gunner in the Warwickshire Battery which was sent to France on 21st June 1917. He took part in the fighting there for just over a year before he died of wounds received in battle in August 1918.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) list Basil Miles, Gunner (216653), Royal Horse Artillery, died 31/08/1918. Buried at Faubourg D'Amiens Cemetery, Arras (Grave Ref: VII.E.3.). Son of Henry William and Charlotte Miles, of 32, Victoria Rd. South, Southsea, Portsmouth. Born at Egham, Surrey.
Basil Miles is 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