Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

Being the son of a renowned physician Eric Archdall Reid may have felt he had a lot to live up to, but the Great War got in the way and cut short his chance to try.
The father in question was Sir George Archdall Reid who was born in the North West Provinces in India in 1861, the only son of Captain C A Reid of the 20th Bengal Native Infantry. He was a Scottish physician who wrote extensively on issues of public health and put forward some ideas about evolution to which Alfred Russel Wallace, the co-founder of evolution by natural selection, felt drawn to address. In a review of Reid's writings Wallace wrote 'the author's views seem rather exaggerated and open to criticism' but went on to say that he 'is a very clear and original thinker'.
George Reid first appeared in Portsmouth in the 1891 census when he was practising as a doctor from his home at 102 Albert Road, Southsea where he lived alone except for a housekeeper and her daughter. The same year however he married Florence Pollard Mahony of 19 St. Andrew's Road, Southsea, the daughter of retired Lt. Colonel John Mahony. In 1899 Florence gave birth to Eric Archdall Reid and the family presumably went abroad as they did not appear in the 1901 census.
The following census in 1911 saw the family back in Southsea, this time at 9 Victoria Road South, with Eric already attending Portsmouth Grammar School, as he had from September 1908. By all accounts he was not especially bright and did not excel on the sports field. Eric was 14 years old when the Great War broke out and as soon as he was old enough he left school and took the entrance exam for Sandhurst which he passed. He was eventually commissioned into the Hampshire Regiment and in March 1918 found himself with 'A' Company, 1st Battalion in the Arras sector of the Western Front. On 29th March German shelling killed most of 'A' Company including 2nd Lieutenant Eric Reid.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists Second Lieutenant Eric Archdall Reid, A Company, 1st Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, died on 29/03/1918, aged 18. Remembered on the Arras Memorial. Son of Sir Archdall Reid, K.B.E. of 20, Lennox Road South, Southsea, Portsmouth, and the late Lady Reid.
Eric Reid is also remembered on a Family Gravestone in Highland Road Cemetery, the Portsmouth Grammar School WW1 Memorial and on the Cenotaph. He is not listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War'.
Tim Backhouse
March 2014