Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

The CWGC website lists 76 men named G Powell, none with any obvious connection to Portsmouth. Research suggested that just one of them, named George, was probably the right man but this was not confirmed until a member of his family came forward to verify the fact.
The Powell family had lived in Portsmouth since the 1840s when George's grandfather, also called George, moved to Portsmouth from Emsworth with his wife Jane and three children. George and Jane Powell were born at Westbourne and Shedham, Sussex respectively, both in 1818. Their children were Jane, George and Daniel.
The first recorded home for the family was at Stamshaw where George (snr.) found work as an agricultural labourer. By 1861 two more children, Harry and James, had arrived but by then the older children were beginning to leave home. The third child Daniel is of interest as he was destined to become George's father and he began the process by marrying Lucy Toms at Portsmouth in 1873.
The newlyweds began married life at 1 Coish's Lane off Fratton Road where their first four children were born. They were Charles, Lucy, James and George. The following years saw the family move several times, to 70 Coburg Street, then 25 Clifton Street and by 1901 to 84 Newcombe Road. During this period five more children were born - Harry, Frederick, William, Florence and Edward.
Their son George left home when he married Henrietta Mary Page on the 12th of October 1901 and with her set up home which in 1911 was at 44 Percy Road, Southsea. The couple had no children. Around the end of 1911 George, who had been working as a labourer, was offered a job as a cellarman in Old Portsmouth, so he and Henrietta moved to 1a Penny Street.
At the outbreak of the Great War George was 37 years old and would not have been expected to volunteer in the first wave of enthusiasm. When he eventually enlisted he was posted to the Worcestershire Regiment which probably means he was conscripted in 1916. The 2nd Battalion, to which he was assigned, was still in France as part of the 33rd Division, so he would have been sent there to make up for numbers lost in battle. The Battalion saw a lot of action at the Somme, Arras and Ypres and George survived it all until six weeks before the Armistice when he lost his life on 29th September 1918.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) website lists Private G Powell (44295), 2nd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment, date of death, 29/09/1918. He is buried at Pigeon Ravine Cemetery, Epehy, Grave Ref II.C.13.
George Powell is remembered on the Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral WW1 Memorial and on the Cenotaph. He is not listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War', Section X.
Tim Backhouse
October 2014