Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

In common with so many other men of Portsmouth the Dockyard probably drew Stanley Benjamin's father, William Tidy, to the Borough in the first place. In William's case it would have been because he was an iron founder working at Deptford [Docks] when his skills became urgently needed at a time the great Dreadnoughts were being built at Portsmouth.
William Tidy had actually been born at Deptford in 1861 to George and Caroline Tidy, his father and two elder brothers being engaged in engineering work at the time. Little else is known about William's early life except that he married Louisa Jane Barker in 1884. Over the next few years they lived at Plumstead and Charlton before moving to Portsmouth sometime in the late 1890s.
William and Caroline had three children before their move south, Gertrude, Elsie and Stanley Benjamin who were born in 1887, 1890 and 1894 respectively. The 1901 census found them living at 11 Ventnor Road, a cul-de-sac between Fawcett and Talbot Roads in Southsea. There a fourth child, Eileen, was born in 1900.
Curiously none of the family seems to appear in the 1911 census. This may mean that William was working at an overseas dockyard, but in Stanley Benjamin's case it could signify that he had already joined the Royal Marine Light Infantry (RMLI) and was serving abroad.
We know that Stanley Benjamin was serving with the RMLI at the outbreak of the Great War but not much about the rest of his wartime experience until October 1917 and the Battle of Passchendaele. The RMLI is not often associated with fighting on the Western Front but their part at Ypres in 1917 was important. On 26th October under the command of Lt. Colonel Harold Ozanne they lined up across one of the muddiest landscapes of the war between Oxford House and Inch Houses. Their objective lay 900m in front of them and after the artillery barrage they advanced and notwithstanding heavy casualties achieved it. Stanley Tidy was one of those who lost his life in the process.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) list Lance Corporal Stanley Benjamin Tidy (PO/15903), Royal Marine Light Infantry, died 26/10/1917, age 22. Commemorated at the Tyne Cot Memorial (Panel 1 and 162A). Son of Mrs. Louisa Price, of 34, Telder Avenue, Shilton Rd., Portsmouth.
Stanley Tidy is commemorated on the Trinity Methodist Church WW1 Memorial and on the Cenotaph. He is not listed in "The National Roll of the Great War", Section X.
The CWGC records are in error inasfar as Mrs. Louisa Price's address is concerned as neither Telder Avenue nor Shilton Road have ever existed in Portsmouth. The 1922 Kelly's Directory lists Charles Price at 34 Velder Avenue which is probably the correct address.
Tim Backhouse
September 2014