Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

Only one member of the Overton family was born in Portsmouth, mainly because the head of the household Edward F. Overton was a member of the British Army and took his family with him wherever he was posted. As a consequence we only know a little of their background.
Records tell us that Edward Fenwick Overton was born in Donnington, Lincolnshire in 1846 into what seems to have been an agricultural labourers community. He probably joined the army at a young age as by 1871 he was serving in Madras where he married Jane Jones who had been born in Ireland and presumably was the daughter of a fellow soldier. Edward and Jane had seven children and by following their birth dates and locations it is possible to trace many of Edward's postings - they were Rhoda (b. 1877, Portsmouth), Minnie (b. 1882, South Africa), Ralph (b. 1888, Gibraltar), Claude (b. 1889, Gibraltar), Maud (b. 1891, Gibraltar), Maurice (b. 1894, Isle of Wight) and Leslie (b. 1895, Isle of Wight).

The only time the family appear in the census records is in 1901 when they were living at 17 Albert Grove, Southsea. It was a good sized house which was just as well, as all seven children were still living at home. They must have remained in Portsmouth for some time as Leslie attended the Secondary School in Victoria Road North from 1907 to 1908.
We know nothing of his time at school but after leaving he served an apprenticeship to an Ironmonger and then joined a large firm of Contractors where he was Manager of one of their departments, being responsible for the erection and overhauling of Acetylene Lighting Sets.
Enlisting in March, 1915, he joined the 16th Middlesex Regiment and proceeded to France in the November of that year. On July 1st, 1916, he went over the top at Beaumont Hamel and when last seen he was "well to the fore." The party were met by very severe shell and machine-gun fire and very few survived. Leslie Overton was reported missing. His Platoon Sergeant writing of him says:- "I was very fond and proud of him, he was so great out there, always cheerful and happy. Anything that required nerve and tact I always fell back on him for, and he never failed me."
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 Private Leslie Overton, 16th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment, date of death, 01/07/1916, remembered on the Thiepval Memorial (Pier and Face 12 D and 13 B.).
Leslie Overton is also remembered on the Southern Grammar School WW1 Memorial and on the Cenotaph. He is not listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War'.