Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

The range of persons who died as a consequence of the Great War is not confined to those killed by enemy action in the years 1914 to 1918. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has long included many others who died as an indirect consequence of the war. Frank Nelder was one of them.
Frank's father George was born in Plympton St. Mary, Devon in 1850 and spent his working life as a messman and steward in the Royal Navy. As such he took up residence in Portsmouth sometime around 1878, probably because he had met and married Jane with whom he set up home at 17 North Street, Portsea. Their first child Harry was born in 1880 and he was followed by Ethel (1881), George (1882), Gwendoline (1884) and Frank (1885). Two further children, Stanley and Gordon followed. By 1891 they were living at 28 Lion Terrace, Portsea.
Nothing further is known of Frank's life until 1898 when, aged 14 years, he attended the Higher Grade School at the premises on Victoria Road North, Southsea, on the site of the later Priory School. He stayed there just one year leaving with good reports and proceeding to Portsmouth Grammar School as a result of winning a scholarship. There he gained some academic recognition in science and failed to make much impression on the sports field.

After leaving school Frank gained employment as Clerk in the Capital and Counties Bank, but relinquished this later to become a Shipping Clerk to the Liverpool Mersey Dock and Harbour Board. In August, 1914, he responded immediately to the appeal for recruits and joined the 17th King's Liverpool Regiment, locally known as the 1st Battalion Liverpool "Pals" and raised by Lord Derby. His training stations were Prescot, Grantham and Salisbury. Corporal Nelder went to France in November 1915 but before he left he married Gertrude of Stanley Park Avenue, Liverpool.
In France he served until after the Armistice and returned home to England in February, 1919. Almost immediately he contracted influenza and pneumonia, but after four years fighting he was left unable to resist disease and died on the 11th of the same month at the University Hospital, Southampton.
Mrs. Nelder had the body of her husband taken north and he was buried with full military honours at Anfield, Liverpool.
Further Information
The photograph above is taken from a memorial booklet published by Southern Grammar School from which extracts also appear above.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) website lists Lance Corporal Frank Mitchelmore Aldridge Nelder (15395), 17th Battalion (Transferred to (223250) 227th Div. Employment Coy Labour Corps), The King's (Liverpool) Regiment; date of death, 11/02/1919, aged 34. He is buried at Liverpool Anfield Cemetery.
Frank Nelder is remembered on the Southern Grammar School WW1 Memorial, the Portsmouth Grammar School WW1 Memorial, the Portsmouth Cathedral WW1 Memorial and on the Cenotaph.
Tim Backhouse
December 2013