Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

There were younger soldiers who died on the battlefields of the Great War but there weren't many who had attained the rank of Sergeant by the age of 17 years; Clarence Norman Tanner must have been extraordinary.
The Tanner family had been resident in Portsmouth since the 1860s when his grandfather George, a bricklayer in Ringwood, his place of birth, moved to the town to become a policeman. In 1871 George and his wife Dorcas were living at 22 Hampton Street with their four children including newly born Charles who would become Clarence's father. By 1881 they had moved to 30 Hereford Street and George had been promoted from Constable to Sergeant.

The family does not appear in the 1891 census but Charles is recorded as marrying Amelia Richards in 1894. By the 1901 census Charles and Amelia were living at 31 Waltham Street, south of what is in 2014 Winston Churchill Avenue. They had three children, Millicent, Charles and Clarence Norman. By 1911 they had moved to 217 Fawcett Road and four more daughters had been born - Winifred, Freda, Kathleen and Phyllis.
Clarence Norman Tanner attended the Secondary School on Victoria Road North from 1911 to 1913 '....when he left to take up a position as Laboratory Attendant at the Municipal College in the Electrical Engineering Department. During his short career at school he showed great promise in studies, and as he had a good voice he was able to give assistance in the school choir. One remembers in particular his remarkably fine critical essay on the character of Shakespeare's Falstaff, which won him warm praise and a prize from the Manager of a Shakespearean Company visiting Portsmouth.'
'After serving for two years as Laboratory Attendant and part-time student at the Municipal College he joined the 2nd Portsmouth Battalion (15th Hampshire Regiment) in August, 1915, at the early age of 16 and 1/2 years. Though a mere boy in years, he gained rapid promotion to Lance-Corporal in December, 1915, and Corporal in January, 1916. Proceeding to France he took part in the great battle of the Somme. He was promoted to Sergeant on the Field, July 24th, 1916, and was mortally wounded on September 15th, 1916, dying two days after at the age of 17 and 1/2 years.'
Further Information
The photograph reproduced is from a memorial booklet published by Southern Grammar School from which extracts also appear above.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) website lists Sergeant Clarence Norman Tanner (19298), 15th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, date of death, 17/09/1916, aged 17, Buried in Dartmoor Cemetery, Becordel-Becourt. Son of Charles G. and A. Tanner, of 217, Fawcett Rd., Southsea, Portsmouth.
Clarence Tanner is remembered on the Southern Grammar School WW1 Memorial but not on the Cenotaph. He is not listed in 'The National Roll of the Great War'.