Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War


There must have been some expectation in the Shott household that when he left school Albert Henry would follow the family tradition and become a stone mason as had his brother, father, two uncles and grandfather. Instead he chose the Royal Navy.
Stone masonry was a common feature in the Shott family history going back to 1861. It probably went even further back but the family is curiously absent from the 1841 and 1851 censuses. As it is, their first appearance in 1861 was at Swanage in Dorset where the head of the household was George Shott, his wife was called Hester and there was already a clutch of budding masons growing up around the house, though only Joseph, aged 11 was actually described as a 'stone-cutter'. He would later be followed by John (b. 1854) and William (b. 1867).
It is not clear why Portsmouth should seem so attractive to stone masons but as least three of the brothers made the journey from Swanage. Joseph and John both brought their family's to Portsmouth in the 1870s, with William following a decade later. The 1891 census listed William living at 9 Lincoln Road, Fratton with his wife Matilda Nevis (nee Cockrell, born 1864, Portsea) and their two eldest children Edith (b. 1888) and William James (b. 1891). By the 1901 census they had moved a few doors down the street to No. 27 Lincoln Street, next door to John Shott and his family at No. 25.

William and Matilda had one more child, Albert Henry Shott in 1894. His parents may have hoped he would join the family business but he must have shown some academic ability at an early age as he was sent to the Secondary School on Victoria Road North aged 11 years. He stayed there for four years, where he was one of the leaders of the School in all kinds of games and manly exercises; he played in First Team Football and Cricket and captained the winning team (Form IV) until in 1909 he passed the Civil Service Examination as Naval Boy Artificer.
After leaving the school he continued his athletic successes and he won a Football medal on H.M.S. Monarch and played in the team which won the Hants Minor Cup for Football. Shortly after the outbreak of the Great War Albert Henry married Ivy Jewel White in Portsmouth. The couple may not have had time for a honeymoon as Albert John was serving as Engine Room Artificer on H.M.S. Flirt in the Dover Patrol.
The ship was a three funnel destroyer and was involved in anti-submarine, counter-mining patrols and defending the drifters of the Dover Barrage. On the night of 26/27 October 1916 the German Navy raided the Dover Barrage with two and a half flotillas of torpedo boats and destroyers. Flirt under the command of Lieutenant R. P. Kellett responded to gunfire from the drifter line but in the ensuing action the ship was hit by enemy gunfire and sunk with most of the crew, including Albert Shott, on October 26th, 1916.
The photograph above was taken from a WW1 memorial booklet published by Southern Grammar School. Extracts also appear above.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) lists Engine Room Artificer 4th Class Albert Henry Shott (M/1128), Royal Navy, HMS Flirt, died on 26/10/1916, aged 23. Remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial (Panel 15). Husband of Ivy Jewel Shott, of 32, Alverstone Rd., Milton, Portsmouth.
Albert Shott is also remembered on the Southern Grammar School WW1 Memorial and on the Cenotaph. He is not listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War'.
Tim Backhouse
June 2014