Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

The Tollerfield family had lived in Portsmouth since the 1870s, a time when Charles Tollerfield's grandfather, also called Charles, was in the Royal Navy. He must have known the town well.
Charles sen. had been born in Dorset in 1846 - a time when all of the Tollerfields in Britain lived in Dorset, mostly in the Wareham area. He had probably been in the navy less than 10 years when in 1871 he married Elizabeth Ann Moss at Catherington, north of Portsmouth. By the time of the 1881 census they were living at 72 Cumberland Road, Portsmouth, which in the 1970s was demolished to make way for Winston Churchill Avenue. With Charles and Elizabeth were the first four of their children of whom the third was Frank Tollerfield, the father of Charles jun.
By 1891, Charles snr. had retired from the navy and taken up work as a cook. The family, which by then had expanded to eight children, were still living at Cumberland Road. Frank Tollerfield was then 16 years of age and probably keen to leave what must have been a rather crowded home. We don't know exactly when he achieved that but we do know that in 1897 he married Hannah Smith and that in 1901 they and their first two children Frank jnr. (b.1898) and Charles (b.1900) were living in a shared house at 59 Delhi Street.
At the next census in 1911 the family, now augmented by two more children, Percy (b.1903) and Dorothy (b. 1910) plus Frank's father Charles, were living at 96 Talbot Road in Southsea. Frank was working as a brewer's drayman which may not have brought in enough money to pay the rent if it hadn't been for the presence of his father.
At the outbreak of the Great War Charles Tollerfield was 14 years old. He had probably left school and obtained a job in the despatch department at Handley's store on the corner of Palmerston Road and Osborne Road. He enlisted in the army late in the war and was posted to the 1st Battalion of the Royal Irish Fusiliers. In late September 1918 the 36th (Ulster) Division of which they were part reached Dadizeele in Belgium which had been in the hands of the Germans for much of the war. On 1st October there was heavy fighting at Hill 41 in which Charles Tollerfield was killed.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) website lists Private C. E. Tollerfield (49927), 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers, date of death, 01/10/1918. He is buried at Dadizeele New British Cemetery, Grave Ref ll.C.11. Son of Frank and Hannah Tollerfield, of 96, Talbot Rd., Southsea.
Charles Tollerfield is remembered on the Cenotaph and probably on the Handley's WW1 Memorial (in Debenham's Store). He is not listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War'.
The Handley's Memorial actually lists "Tollerfield D." but there is no one called Tollerfield with that initial in the CWGC database, nor anyone in the census records who seems to fit. The memorial also describes Tollerfield's service simply as "Hants" which was presumably meant to imply the Hampshire Regiment, but the CWGC has no one named Tollerfield serving in that Regiment.
There is no conclusive evidence that Charles is the same person as that mentioned on the memorial, but given the complete lack of alternatives, it seems probable.
Tim Backhouse
February 2014