Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

When the Great War broke out in August 1914 Charles Smart was a 35 year old Tram Conductor living with his wife Edith (b. 1886) and two daughters, Irene (b. 1908) and Olive (b. 1910) at 20 Manor Park Avenue, Cosham. He probably did not enlist in the first wave of volunteers but more likely as a married man he would have been conscripted in 1916.
In 1901 Charles had been a corn miller, lodging in Stoke, Guildford. He must have picked up that trade whilst living with his widowed mother Elizabeth (b. 1853) at 4 Dock Mill Cottages, one of a set of houses provided for workers connected to Dock Mill, off Napier Road, Southsea. Elizabeth was described in the 1891 census as a Charwoman, and may have been helping in the house of the Mill Foreman, George Mansbridge who was a widower with four children.
Elizabeth had lost her own husband within ten years of their marriage and had been bringing up her four sons since the late 1870s. Charles G. was the youngest of them.
Little is known of Charles' experiences during the war apart from the fact that he died on 15th September 1916 probably during the Battle of Flers-Courcelette when Flers was captured by the New Zealand and 41st Divisions behind tanks, the innovative new weapons that were used here for the first time.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists Private C. G. Smart, (17940), 15th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, died on 15/09/1916. Buried in the Bulls Road Cemetery, Flers (Grave Ref: III.G.19.
Charles Smart is remembered on the City of Portsmouth Passenger Transport Department WW1 Memorial, and the Cenotaph in Portsmouth. He is not listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War'.
Tim Backhouse
March 2014