Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

On Armistice Day 1918 the Portsmouth Evening News, whilst celebrating the end of the Great War also carried an obituary for Albert Thomas North who had been killed in France nearly a month earlier. The News thought it was worth noting that Albert Thomas had worked for Brickwoods Brewery for 19 years.
Although Albert Thomas was born in Portsmouth, neither of his parents were. His father Albert W. North came from North Warnborough, near Odiham in Hampshire where he had been born in 1858 whereas his mother Maria (nee Amos) came from Waltham in Kent. She had been born in 1861. Albert and Maria were married at Dover, Kent in 1878 and initially settled down there. A daughter, Maud, was born to them whilst at Dover but shortly afterwards they moved to Portsmouth.
The 1891 census shows the family living at 1 Hogg's Yard, off St. Nicholas's Street, Old Portsmouth. By that time a further four children had been born, Albert Thomas (b. 1883), William (b. 1886), Alice (b. 1888) and Robert (1890). Albert W. North was described as a coal carrier. At the next census they were living at 10 Oyster Street with four more children, Frank (b. 1892), Harriet (b. 1895), James (b. 1896) and Georgina (b. 1899). Albert W. was still working with coal whilst Albert Thomas had begun working for Brickwoods as a bottle washer.
Albert Thomas left the family home around 1905, the year he married Elizabeth, daughter of John and Elizabeth Foster of 89 Hertford Street. Together they found a home at 83 Frederick Street, just a few minutes walk from the Brickwoods Brewery where Albert Thomas rose by 1911 to be Cellarman. The census that year showed that Albert and Elizabeth had one child, Albert John who had been born in 1909.
At the outbreak of the Great War Albert Thomas was 31 years old and though eligible to enlist did not do so, probably because he had a family to look after. When conscription was brought in however he had no choice and in November 1916 was posted to the Wiltshire Regiment. Initially he was kept on special duties in England but in July 1918 he was sent to France where he was killed during fighting at Cambrai a few months later.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission list Private AT North (47900), 2nd Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment, died 19/10/1918. Buried at St. Aubert British Cemetery, (Grave Ref: IV.B.18.). Husband of E. Eveleigh (formerly North), of 44, Bishop St., Portsea, Portsmouth.
Albert North is remembered on the Anglican Cathedral WW1 Memorial Cross and on the Cenotaph. He is listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War', Section X, p168.
When Albert W and Maria moved into 10 Oyster Street they may have taken the same rooms recently vacated by George and Hester Hudson. Both couples were to experience the loss of a son during the Great War.
Tim Backhouse
November 2014
Thanks to Cynthia Sherwood for additional research