Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

The Stewart family seem to have had no connection to Portsmouth prior to their move to the Borough from Guernsey in the late 1890s. At the time the family consisted of Alexander William who had beem born at Staines in 1870, his wife Florence, who he had married at Guernsey in 1895 and their son Alexander (b. 1896, Guernsey).
Their first address in Portsmouth was probably the same as that recorded in the 1901 census - 20 Norman Road, off Lawrence Road in Southsea. With Alexander William, Florence and Alexander jnr. were Sydney James and Victor, 2 years old and less than a year respectively. Also living at the same address but recorded as a separate household were James and Ellen Elsbury and their two year old daughter Olive. It is probable that Ellen Elsbury was Florence Stewart's sister as they were both born in Guernsey. Alexander William's job in 1901 was listed as Brewer's Drayman.
By the time of the 1911 census Alexander and William had moved to 59 Brompton Road with their family which had expanded by the addition of Irene, Reginald, Stanley and Ronald. Notable by his absence was 12 year old Sydney James who had remained behind at Norman Road with James and Ellen Elsbury and was described as 'nephew'.
Sydney James was only 15 years of age at the outbreak of the Great War and so was ineligible to enlist. He could have signed up in 1917 or 1918 but whichever it was, when he did so he joined the 7th Battalion of the Queen's Own, Royal West Kent Regiment. This unit saw action on many fields on the Western Front but suffered it's heaviest defeat in the German Spring Offensive of March 1918. Sydney James Stewart died shortly after this attack.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) list Private Sydney James Stewart (202453), Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment), died 28/03/1918, age 19. Commemorated at the Pozieres Memorial (Panel 58 and 59). Son of Mrs. F. Stewart, of 8, Beatrice Rd., Southsea, Portsmouth.
Sydney Stewart is commemorated on the Trinity Methodist Church WW1 Memorial and on the Cenotaph (as 'Stewart S'). He is not listed in "The National Roll of the Great War", Section X.
Tim Backhouse
September 2014