Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

Of all the men who worked for the Tramway service in Portsmouth Frederick Shill's father Henry must have been one of the longest serving, having joined around 1880 and staying on well into the 20C.
Henry had been born in Gosport in 1854 to William and Eliza Shill. In 1871 William was described as a Greenwich Pensioner and Licenced Victualler. Henry married Elise (known as Eliza) Edwards in 1879 and within two years they had moved to 19 Herbert Road, Landport and Henry had begun his career with the Tramways as a Car Driver. This was a time when the horse drawn tram service was flourishing following it's inauguration in the mid 1860s. Tracks were being laid along all the main thoroughfares and the requirement for drivers must have drawn in men from far and wide.
By 1891 Henry and Eliza had settled into their home at 39 Lower Derby Road, Stamshaw where they would remain for over two decades. Their family largely grew up there and by 1911 consisted of 5 boys, of whom Frederick was the fourth, and two girls. In the meantime Henry had experienced a variety of posts within the Tram Service but had left to become a private coachman by the time of the census. His influence had not entirely vanished though as he still managed to get a job as Point Boy for young Frederick.
When the Great War broke out Frederick was 18 years of age and was probably swept along in the tide of euphoria that saw so many young men enlist in the army. Little is known of his army career except that he was killed in September 1916 and his body was never identified.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists Private Frederick Shill, (15455), 14th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, died on 03/09/1916. He has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial.
Frederick Shill is also remembered on the City of Portsmouth Passenger Transport Department WW1 Memorial, the St. John's Parishioners WW1 memorial (now at St. Agatha's Church) and the Cenotaph in Portsmouth. He is not listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War'.
Tim Backhouse
March 2014