Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

Although the entire Tilbury family were born in Portsmouth there is no record of them in the census prior to 1891. When they do appear in 1891 they were living at 12 Playfair Road, Southsea and consisted of his father Walter George (b. 1863), his mother Annie (nee Goodwin, b. 1862) and his two eldest sisters Ethel (b. 1889) and Jessica (b. 1891). Walter was then described as an outfitter's traveller.
By 1901 the family had moved to 87 Cottage Grove and grown by the addition of three more children, Robert (b. 1892), Dorothy (b. 1894) and Herbert Walter (b. 1897). There were no further changes to the membership of the household for the 1911 census but interestingly all three daughters were described as 'Technical Students'. The family's address was 63 Victoria Road South which was an eight roomed house in a respectable area. As Walter was now an outfitter he must have been working in an up-market shop to be able to afford the accommodation, perhaps a military outfitters.
At the outbreak of the Great War Herbert Walter was just 17 years old and could have enlisted in the first wave. Had he done so that might explain how he could attain the rank of 2nd Lieutenant by 1918. Alternatively, it may have been his middle class background that enabled him to join at that rank later in the war. His service record was unavailable at the time of writing. All that is currently known is that he died in September 1918. Although he was buried in the village of Lebucquiere, that is not necessarily where he died as those in temporary graves in the surrounding area were brought in to the cemetery there after the armistice.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) list 2nd Lieutenant Herbert Walter Tilbury, 7th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, died 05/09/1918, aged 21 years. He is buried at Lebucquiere Communal Cemetery Extension, (Grave Ref: II. A. 40).
Herbert Tilbury is also remembered on the (Former) Circus Church WW1 Memorial, the St. Simon's Church WW1 Memorial and on the Cenotaph. He is not listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War'.
Herbert Tilbury's name appears on both the Circus Church and St. Simon's Church memorials and in both cases it is accompanied by the name RW Tilbury. It is odd that any name should appear on different church memorials, especially when they are in such distant locations, but to have two with the same surname immediately suggests that they were related. In the 1911 census there is only one person named Tilbury with the initials RW and he happens to be Herbert's brother Robert William Tilbury. It seems as though Walter and Annie Tilbury lost both their sons in the Great War.
Tim Backhouse
February 2014