Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

It was not unusual for men of Portsmouth to have fought under another country's banner, but in the case of William Henry Mills it has proved difficult to explain his connection to Australia.
Although his father George A. Mills was born in London (in 1845) and his mother Mary Ann was born in Devonport (in 1844), the family had been resident in Portsmouth since the 1880s, indeed they had, rather unusually, stayed at the same address, 57 Gloucester Street for the entire period. George and Mary had six children, the youngest of whom was William Henry.
In 1901 William Henry was 15 years of age and still living at home, but after that his path becomes hazy. At some point between 1901 and the outbreak of the Great War he, presumably, emigrated to Australia. If he did so before 1911 then there would be no census record for him in that year, whereas if it was after 1911 he should appear in the census. Emigration records don't help.
If he did remain in Portsmouth until at least 1911 then there is a suitable candidate in the Census for that year. There, a William Henry Mills is listed as resident at 30 Brighton Street with his wife Fanny Beatrice and their daughter Violet (b. 1908) and son William (b. 1910/11). Circumstantially this could be the right man but there is no conclusive evidence to confirm it.
From 1911 onwards William Henry Mills disappears from the records until October 1917 when he was reported killed near Ieper in Belgium.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists Sergeant William Henry Mills (2618), 1st Battalion, Australian Infantry, A.I.F., died between 02/10/1917 and 05/10/1917, aged 31. Buried in Oxford Road Cemetery (Grave Ref: IV.H.9.). Son of George Alexander and Mary Ann Mills. Native of Portsmouth, England.
William Mills is commemorated on the St. Alban's Church WW1 memorial and the Cenotaph. He is not listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War'.
Tim Backhouse
March 2014