Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

The Over family had been resident in Portsmouth ever since William Stanley's grandfather John Over (b. 1827, Eling, Hants.) moved to the Borough in the 1850s. As he was a shipwright it seems probable that he moved to obtain work in the dockyard. With him was his wife Charlotte (b. 1827, Southampton), their first address in Portsmouth being at 18 Lucknow Street where they would remain for 30 years.
John and Charlotte had 6 children, the fourth of whom was Walter who would go on to become the father of William Stanley. The period up to 1879 saw the family growing up at Lucknow Street but in that year Charlotte died and ten years later John also passed away. In the meantime Walter married Ellen Stevenson in 1886 and set up home at the family residence in Lucknow Street. Over the next 14 years they brought eight children into the world, the third of which was William Stanley. In the late 1890s the family moved to 146 Orchard Road which was not a large house for two adults, eight children and Ellen's mother Philadelphia Stevenson but they stayed there for at least 20 years.

In 1904 William Stanley began attending the Secondary School in Victoria Road North and stayed there for two years before he entered the Civil Service as a Boy Clerk, later becoming Abstractor and Prison Clerk. In the latter role he appeared in the census of 1911 as working in Acton, London. He was deeply interested in religious and social work and did good work among the young men of his Church. He was Secretary of the Football Club.
After repeated application on his part he was allowed to enter the Army. He joined the 2nd Portsmouth Battalion in the summer of 1915 at about the same time that he married Chrystabel C. Brooke before leaving for active service in May, 1916.
By this time he was a Sergeant and soon saw much service. In the Great Push on the Somme the losses were terrible, and on September 15th, near Delville Wood, on the Fleurs Road, he had just left the shelter of a shell hole and was rushing forward in an attack when he fell, killed by a machine-gun bullet. He was then 26 years of age.
The Chaplain writing in regard to him says:- "I knew your son, Sergeant Over, intimately and loved and honoured him. He helped me greatly in my work amongst the men, reading lessons for me at the services and getting his men to them. Thoroughly devout, a genuine Christian and a lovable fellow, he endeared himself to us all. I shall miss him keenly."
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 Sergeant William Stanley Over, 15th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, date of death, 15/09/1916, age 26, buried at the Guard's Cemetery, Les boeufs (Grave Ref: II.D.1.). Son of Walter J. and Ellen Over, of 146, Orchard Rd., Southsea, Portsmouth; husband of Constance C. Over [Marriage records give her name as Chrystabel].
William Over is remembered on the Southern Grammar School WW1 Memorial and on the Cenotaph. He is not listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War'.