I have recently entered the 1,578th name from the Portsmouth First World War Memorial into my database. To give some kid of perspective, those names came from three panels on the Memorial. Those are only men from the Army, and there are two more panels of Army men to go. Given that there are also five panels of men who served in the Royal Navy, we could well be looking at more than 5,000 names in total. By comparison, 2,183 men and women from Portsmouth died in the Second World War.
Researching Portsmouth’s First World War dead has proved a lot more difficult than their counterparts from the Second World War. Many of the names on the memorial simply do not appear on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s online debt of honour register. This is not to say that these names are bogus, it is probably more down to spelling errors or other mishaps. It’s going to take a lot of research to track them down.
Out of the 1,578 names, I have managed to track down 1,090 of them.
40 of them were killed in 1914, 130 in 1915, 235 in 1916, 267 in 1917 and 274 in 1918. 55 men died between the Armistice and 1921.
233 men were killed in Belgium, 481 in France, 7 in Germany, 12 in Greece, 11 in India, 51 in Iraq, 18 in Israel, 6 in Italy, and 55 in Turkey.
13 men were killed at 1st Ypres, 21 at 2nd Ypres, 35 at Arras, 9 at Cambrai, 4 at Loos, 73 at Passchendaele, 137 on the Somme (including 8 on the first day), 95 during the Kaiser Offensive and 104 during the 100 days offensive before the Armistice.
Particularly bad days for Portsmouth were 3 September 1916 when the 14th Hants lost 27 men in one day, and 15 September when the 15th Hants lost 21 men in one day.
15 men/boys were aged 17. The oldest recorded age is that of 55 – Private Edward Gant of the Royal Defence Corps.
423 were serving with the Hampshire Regiment, 11 in the Brigade of Guards, 17 in the Machine Gun Corps, 53 in the Royal Engineers, 6 in Royal Engineers Signals, 3 in the Royal Flying Corps, 57 in Field Artillery, 47 in Garrison Artillery, and 4 in the Tank Corps.
35 came from Buckland, 26 from Copnor, 16 from Cosham, 9 from East Southsea, 23 from Eastney, 45 from Fratton, 16 from Kingston, 65 from Landport, 12 from Mile End, 21 from Milton, 48 from North End, 4 from Old Portsmouth, 36 from Portsea, 75 from Portsmouth, 163 from Southsea, and 29 from Stamshaw.
4 Distinguished Conduct Medals, 4 Military Crosses, 3 Mention in Despatches, 13 Military Medals, and 1 Meritious Service Medal.