Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn

Harold Ernest Tebby aged 14.
Harold Ernest Tebby aged 14.
jpns-19-08-17 retro Aug 2017
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In this, my penultimate article of Portsmouth men lost during the First World War, I am picturing some of the men who were lost.

Of course, war makes no allowances for age. If you were old enough to be there you were old enough to die. Conflict takes the young unmarried lad as well as the middle-aged man with children.

Shipwright Ernest Edward Godden and his family.

Shipwright Ernest Edward Godden and his family.

Such was the case with Harold Ernest Tebby, above, of 116, Brompton Road, Southsea.

On September 23, 1913, straight from school and just seven days after his fourteenth birthday, Harold enlisted in the Royal Marines at Eastney as a band boy.

For the first 28 months Harold attended the Royal Marines School of Music. His instruments were the cornet and violin.

While he was there the war broke out and on January 28, 1916, Harold was promoted to Musician and posted to the battleship HMS Malaya.

Circled is Lance Corporal Patrick J. King

Circled is Lance Corporal Patrick J. King

He served in her until May 6, 1916, and was drafted off the ship shortly before she went into action at the battle of Jutland.

The following day Harold was drafted to HMS Vanguard and was serving in the ship when she inexplicably blew up at anchor while anchored in Scapa Flow.

The internal explosion, just before midnight on July 9, 1917, was most likely caused by an unnoticed stokehold fire warming up cordite. There were just two survivors.

Harold lies with 804 men and boys in the cold waters of Scapa Flow.

Throughout his short career Harold’s conduct was assessed as ‘very good’.

When he died aged 17 he had served nearly four years of which three were on war service.

I do not receive many photographs of men who died leaving a family but here is a picture of Shipwright Ernest Edward Godden with his family.

He was killed when another ship blew up because of a cordite explosion, HMS Bulwark on November 26, 1914.

He lived with his wife Alice and two sons Harold and Sydney at 20, Brompton Road, Mile End.

The third photograph includes Lance Corporal Patrick J King at his sister’s wedding in 1910.

Patrick served with the 14th Battalion Hampshire Regiment. He lived with his wife at 32, Inverness Road, Buckland. While attacking German lines he was killed in action on June 22, 1916. He lies with his pals in a Flanders field.

Many men suffered serious injuries during battle and one was the father of Maurice Hutty of Hilsea.

Albert Victor Agar Hutty was born in 1892 and enlisted on November 5, 1915, and was discharged on September 4, 1918, as ‘unfit for further service’ after losing his right arm.

As part of his rehabilitation he was trained to sew with his left hand and embroidered the Rifle Brigade’s badge with his name.

After the war Albert found work in the dockyard as a messenger and foreman’s writer.

He was awarded the Imperial Service Medal on retirement.

He was also a prominent member of the Ancient Order of Foresters for many years.

I wonder what a mother must have thought when she lost both her sons especially as she was widowed during the war as well.

Amelia Shepherd, of 15, School Lane, Sultan Road, Buckland, lost her two sons who both served in the Hampshire Regiment.

Ronald Shepherd died in action on September 3, 1916.

Sixteen months later his brother Leonard died on January 12, 1918, from serious wounds received three day previously.

From being part of a happy family in 1914, by 1918 Amelia was alone.