Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

In the years leading up to the First World War there was a hive of activity in the Dockyard as the nation rushed to equip itself with new ships, especially Dreadnoughts. To achieve this, skilled labour had to be attracted from around the country. Among those identified and, presumably, offered inducements to move to Portsmouth, was Robert John Peck, a 35 year old boilermaker from Sunderland and father of Lewis Peck.
The Peck family moved to Portsmouth at some time between 1901 and 1911 as the Census for 1901 lists them as living in Sunderland, and the 1911 as living at 23 North Street, Landport. Apart from Robert John the family in 1911 consisted of his wife Annie whom he married in 1895, his son Lewis, aged 15 years and younger children Nellie, Bertha, Robert and Vera.
It is not known when Lewis Peck enlisted but as he was 18 at the outbreak of war he could have been in the first wave of volunteers. Whenever he did join up he was posted to the 5th Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment. All we know of his army experience is that he fought, and lost his life, at the Battle of the Somme.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission list Private Lewis Peck (23634), 5th Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment, died 19/10/1916, aged 20. He has no known grave. Remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, (Pier and Face 11D). Son of Robert John and Annie Peck, of 142, Wingfield St., Landport, Portsmouth.
Lewis Peck is remembered on the All Saints Church WW1 memorial and on the Cenotaph. He is listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War', Section X, Page 176.
Tim Backhouse
January 2014