Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

The census records follow William Henry from 1891 to 1911 but the same cannot be said of his father whose name is currently unknown and who seems to have dropped out of sight in the 1890s.
The first time William Henry appears, in 1891, he was living at 8 Washington Road with his mother Annie and brother Thomas Frecock Westcott. Annie was born at Hawkchurch, near Axminster, in 1859 whilst William and Thomas were both born in Portsmouth, in 1887 and 1889 respectively. As Annie declares herself to be married rather than a widow it seems that her husband is still alive but away from the home, possibly at sea.
In 1897 Annie Westcott married Joseph Henry Jefferies but it's not known whether her first marriage was ended by the death of her husband or divorce. By the time of the 1901 census she and Joseph were living at 17 Stirling Street, off Kingston Road. With them were Annies three sons, William, Thomas and Reginald who had been born in 1894. The family circumstances were much the same at the census of 1911 except that William Henry had left school and taken a job as an electric wireman.
William Henry joined the Royal Navy before the outbreak of the Great War but the date is unknown, as is his early career in the service. All that is certain is that he was serving aboard HMS Lion as she steamed into action at the Battle of Jutland. Lion was deeply involved in the ensuing fight which cost the lives of 99 men of her crew, including William Westcott, with another 51 wounded, but the ship herself survived to reach Rosyth on 2nd June 1916.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) list William Henry Brown Westcott, Electrical Artificer 4th Class (M/8718), Royal Navy, HMS Lion, died 31/05/1916, age 29. Commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial (Panel 20). Son of Annie Jefferies (formerly Westcott), of 17, Stirling St., Portsmouth.
William Westcott is also commemorated on the Buckland United Reformed Church WW1 Memorial and on the Cenotaph. He is not listed in "The National Roll of the Great War", Section X.
Tim Backhouse
December 2014