Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

It is often difficult to trace the life of a WW1 casualty through surviving records but it is even more so when the records appear to contradict each other. One such case is that of William George Trickett for whom the CWGC records and the 1911 Census assign different names to his mother. The research required to establish the probable truth behind this is detailed below.
William George was born in 1890 to William John and Sarah Trickett. At the time the family were living with William John's parents George and Sarah Trickett at 134 Milford Terrace, Hertford Street, Landport. William George's mother Sarah appears to have died or been divorced a few years later as by the time of the 1901 Census his father William John, who was a painter in the Royal Navy, had married Emma and the family had moved to 65 Sultan Road. William John was absent for both the 1901 and the 1911 Censuses but in both cases Emma declared that she was William George's mother.
The 1911 Census tells us that William George Trickett was already serving with the Royal Navy in the "Armourer's Crew" and would have been so at the outbreak of war. He was sent on missions to the North Sea aboard HMS Queen Mary and took part in the fighting at Heligoland Bight and Dogger Bank before losing his life at the Battle of Jutland when the Queen Mary was sunk.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission list Armourer's Mate William George Trickett (M/2847), Royal Navy, serving on HM Queen Mary, died 31/05/1916, age 26. Son of William John and Sarah Trickett. Remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial (Panel 20).
William Trickett is also remembered on the All Saints Church WW1 memorial and the Cenotaph. His listing in the 'National Roll of the Great War' Section X, is on page 233.
Research Notes
In the 1911 Census the only person by the name of William George Trickett in Portsmouth is listed as living with his mother Emma. We can be confident that this is the right William George because the Census gives his occupation as Armourer's Crew, agreeing with the CWGC, and the address is given as 65 Sultan Road, Landport which is supported by his entry in the National Roll. This would suggest that the CWGC is wrong to describe his parents as William John and Sarah Trickett but there are further complications to throw into the mix.
Emma Trickett is said in the 1911 Census to be married but her husband is not present, exactly the same situation, at the same address, as in the 1901 Census. This suggests that William's father is away in the navy at both Censuses. A further anomaly occurs in that in 1911 Emma says she is 37 years old and that her marriage has lasted 13 years. At this time William is 21 years of age which would make Emma 16 years of age when she gave birth to him, some 8 years before she married his father; an interesting but not impossible sequence of events.
However, at the time of the 1891 Census William should have been one year old and the returns for that year have just one person called William G Trickett of that age in the UK, and he was living in Portsmouth. Initially this record seems to confuse the matter still further as his parents are listed as George and Sarah Trickett though this record is probably incorrect. The Census is designed to show the relationship of each person to the head of the household, but in this case there is a daughter-in-law named Sarah, and William is listed beneath her as 'son' when 'grandson' is probably more accurate.
If then, Sarah is William's mother it would tie in with the CWGC record which tells us that Sarah was married to William John Trickett. By looking back to the 1881 Census it can be seen that George and Sarah Trickett have a son by the name of William who is aged 10. It seems likely therefore that this William is the one who married Sarah and fathered William George. It further follows that Sarah must have died or divorced William between 1891 and 1898 when Emma said she married William George's father.
Another piece of evidence is that the National Roll also lists a 'Trickett W.J' amongst the war dead and gives an address of 65 Sultan Road. This would appear to have been William George's father but surprisingly the CWGC have no record of him and although his name appears on the All Saints Memorial he is not on the Cenotaph. The National Roll states that he was invalided out of the navy in December 1917 and died through 'causes to his service', but does not give a date.
Tim Backhouse
January 2014