Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

In the 1911 census Alfred Edgar Young was listed as a boarder in the household of Edward and Edith Cross of 62 Talbot Road. With him were his wife Elizabeth and 11 month old son also called Alfred. He had married Elizabeth (nee Cook) from Birmingham in 1909 when Alfred was 26 and Elizabeth 22 years old. The census described Alfred's occupation as Furniture Porter.
Prior to his marriage Alfred had been living with his mother Mary Ann and two younger sisters, Daisy and Rosa, with Mary's second husband William Guest at 34 White Hart Road, Old Portsmouth. Alfred was then a greengrocer. His natural father, James Edgar Young, who had died in 1893 was described in the 1891 census as 'paralyzed' possibly as a consequence of military service.
James Edgar had been born in 1841 and declared his birthplace as Milton, Hants but in the 1841 census (a week after his birth) his family were living at King's Place, Portsea. They would not have stayed at that address for very long as King's Place was included in an area taken into the Dockyard in 1845. James Edgar's parents were James and Mary Young who were both born in Hampshire as were all four of their children.
There is no record of James Edgar in Hampshire for the 1851 census whereas the 1861 census found him living as a boarder at 33 Albion Street, Portsea and working as an 'Excavator'. Ten years later he seems to have been in the army at North Camp Aldershot. In the 1870s he married Mary Ann and in 1891 they were recorded as living at 100 St. Thomas's Street, Old Portsmouth with their five children, the third of whom was Alfred Edgar Young, born 1883.
At the outbreak of the Great War Alfred Edgar was 31 years old but as a family man would not have been expected to enlist. He did not however wait to be conscripted and volunteered in July 1915. He was initially assigned to the 1st Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment and later transferred to the 15th. With his regiment he was posted to France in May 1916 where he took part in several engagements including those on the Somme where he was wounded. Returning to his unit he was again severely wounded near Arras in April 1918 and died the next day.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) list Private A Young, (19216), 1st Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, died 24/04/1918, aged 34. Buried at the Lapugnoy Military Cemetery (Grave Ref: VII.E.14.).
Alfred Young is commemorated on the Anglican Cathedral WW1 Memorial Cross and the Cenotaph. He is listed in "The National Roll of the Great War", Section X, p395.
Tim Backhouse
October 2014