Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

The Royal Navy was an important element in the history of the Twomey family with both Leo James and his father John serving in the Senior Service.
John Twomey was born in New Orleans, USA in 1844 and the first record of his presence in the UK is when he married Sophia Waddington (b. 1844 in Lancaster) at Portsea in 1869. He was probably then serving in the Royal Navy as a Seaman Gunner, but if not then he definitely was by the time of the census in 1871 when he was based at Aberdeen in Scotland. John Twomey's naval career took an unusual turn later that decade when he became a Ship's Carpenter and re-located to Southampton.
The 1881 census records John and Sophia in Southampton with their children John (b. 1871), Alfred (b. 1873), Daisy (b. 1878) and twins Louise and Leo James (b. 1880). The following decade saw John retiring from the navy to become a labourer in the Dockyard at Portsmouth and the family moving to 3 Sydenham Terrace, Fratton. John's connection to the navy ceased in the 1890s about the same time that Leo James began his by becoming a Sick Berth Steward.
His early postings are currently unknown but by 1911 he was serving at the Royal Naval Hospital at Haslar in Gosport and after the outbreak of the Great War he was transferred to HMS Hampshire. The ship served at the Battle of Jutland and several days afterwards she sailed for Russia, carrying the Secretary of State for War, Field Marshal Lord Kitchener, when she is believed to have struck a mine laid by a German submarine. She sank with heavy loss of life, including Kitchener, his staff and Leo James Twomey.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) lists Sick Bert Steward Leo James Twomey (350860), Royal Navy, HMS Hampshire, died on 05/06/1916. Remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial (Panel 20).
Leo Twomey is also remembered on the WW1 Memorial at St. John's RC Cathedral and on the Cenotaph. He is not listed in the 'National Roll of the Great War'.
Tim Backhouse
April 2014