Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

There is no evidence to suggest that Vivian Archibald or any member of his family had a connection to Portsmouth before he moved to the Borough in 1908. It is not known why he chose Portsmouth as he seems to have had no relevant trade to offer.
Records tell us that Vivian Archibald was born at Hornsey, East London in 1887 and that he married Mary Annie Strong at West Ham in 1907. Mary was four years older than Vivian and hailed from Gateshead. The move south came shortly after the couple's marriage and preceded the arrival of their only child, Alan Vincent Albert in 1909. The 1911 census lists them at 5 Copper Street, Southsea with Vivian working as a brewer's labourer whilst the 1913 Kelly's Directory places them at 1 Lombard Street, Old Portsmouth, across the road from the St. Thomas's Church graveyard.
At Lombard Street Vivian was described as a beer retailer, a trade he maintained throughout the first year of the Great War. Sometime thereafter however he enlisted in the army and was assigned to the Royal Garrison Artillery, specifically the 1st (Hong Kong and Singapore) Mountain Battery. In 1917 his unit were stationed in Egypt where on the 20th May Vivian Sykes lost his life.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) list Gunner VA Sykes, (9850), Wheeler, Royal Garrison Artillery, died 20/05/1917. Buried at the Kantara War Memorial Cemetery (Grave Ref: B.125.).
Vivian Sykes is commemorated on the Anglican Cathedral WW1 Memorial Cross and the Cenotaph. He is not listed in "The National Roll of the Great War", Section X.
Once Vivian had enlisted, his wife Mary took over the role as beerseller at Lombard Street. She may have found herself unsuited to the role as after Vivian had lost his life she married William Harris who took over the business.
Tim Backhouse
October 2014
With thanks to Cynthia Sherwood