Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

The Plaskett family had been resident in Portsmouth for at least 100 years prior to the outbreak of the Great War. The earliest record seems to date to 1786 when George Albert's great-grandfather William was born in Portsea. Nothing further is known of William until the 1841 census when he was recorded living on Wish Street, later known as King's Road, in Southsea. With him were his wife Ann and two sons, the elder, George and the younger, Frederick Charles, George Albert's grandfather, who was born in 1831.
In 1849 Frederick Charles married Mary Ann (b. 1831), daughter of Joseph and Mary Ann Jerram of Arundel Street. The couple were recorded in the 1851 census living at 3 Margery's Court, off Butcher Street, with their first child Frederick who had been born the previous year. Over the next 20 years Frederick Charles and Mary Ann had a further 8 children and moved to at least one other address, 100 Crasswell Street. The sixth born child was George Plaskett who was born in 1863.
George probably joined the Royal Navy at a young age as he is missing from the 1881 census, but he was certainly back home in 1884 when he married Sarah Ann Gale who had been living with her widowed mother Mary at 89 Stone Street. George and Sarah (calling herself Annie) were recorded in the 1891 census living at 1 St. John's Street, Buckland with their first three children, George Albert (b. 1885), Mary (b. 1887) and Beatrice (b. 1888). At the census ten years later George was once again at sea whilst Sarah (as she then called herself) was living at 74 Clive Road, Fratton with George Albert, Mary and Beatrice plus two more children Annie (b. 1892) and Ernest (b. 1901).
George and Sarah had at least three more children but by then George Albert had left the home to follow his father's footsteps into the Royal Navy. In 1907 George Albert married Emma Florence Knapp and together they set up home at 44 Station Road, Copnor where they had one child, Daisy who was born in 1909
Nothing much is known of George Albert's naval career except that at the outbreak of war he was serving on board HMS Black Prince on patrol in the North Sea. On the 31st May 1916 the Black Prince took part in the Battle of Jutland where she was hit by at least 12 heavy shells, sinking within 15 minutes. All of her crew of 857, including George Plaskett, were lost when she sank.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) list Chief Armourer George Albert Plaskett (346157), Royal Navy, HMS Black Prince, died 31/05/1916. Commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial (Panel 20).
George Plaskett is also commemorated on the Buckland United Reformed Church WW1 Memorial and on the Cenotaph. He is listed in "The National Roll of the Great War", Section X, p350, which gives the address of his next of kin (his wife Emma?) as 70 Wymering Road, Landport.
George Albert's sister Mary AS Plaskett suffered the loss of both her older bother and her husband Henry James Trueman on the same day at the Battle of Jutland.
Tim Backhouse
November 2014