Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

It would have a terrible shock for any family to hear of the loss of a loved one on a Great War battlefield and so much more so to lose two. Imagine then the horror of hearing that two sons had been killed on the same day. Such was the fate of the Ryan family.
Daniel Ryan (b. 1857, Wexford, Ireland) and his wife Alice were married in 1881 on Jersey, in the Channel Islands, where Daniel was in barracks with the Suffolk Regiment. Alice had been born in Havant in 1859. Soon after, Daniel left the army but stayed on as a barrack labourer, initially for the Dorsetshire Regiment at Dorchester. There Daniel and Alice lived in the barracks and by 1891 had three children, Alice, Annie and Daniel.
The 1901 census places the family in Portsmouth where they living at 3 St. George's Buildings, Portsea. Daniel was still working as a barrack labourer. The family had grown significantly in the meanwhile with the addition of Louise, Ethel, George, Herbert and Rose. Later records tell us that two of the children died young, but not which ones. The 1911 census recorded the family living at a new address, 10 King Street, Portsea where the only children still at home were Ethel, George (who was working as a labourer in the Dockyard) and Herbert.
At the outbreak of the Great War George was 20 years old and though he probably didn't volunteer with the first wave, he must have done so soon after. Like his brother Herbert he joined the Hampshire Regiment and like his brother Herbert he was killed on 9th August 1916.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) lists Private George Ryan (18040), 2nd Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, died on 09/08/1916. Buried in the Poperinghe New Military Cemetery (Grave Ref: II.C.8.). Son of Alice and the late Daniel Ryan (2nd Suffolk Regt.) of Portsmouth. His brother, Pte. H. Ryan, was also killed on the same day.
George Ryan is remembered on the WW1 Memorial at St. John's RC Cathedral and on the Cenotaph. He is not listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War'.
<Tim Backhouse
April 2014