Mum, dad, daughter and two sons – an entire patriotic family at war

Men of the Naval Brigade using trench periscopes at Gallipoli

Men of the Naval Brigade using trench periscopes at Gallipoli

Saint Roger's halo didn't slip when he gave me interview

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In my research for an article I am writing about the First World War, the family name of Westcott has come to light.

They lived in Guildford Street, Landport, which has long since been wiped off the Portsmouth map, but ran from Railway View to Fratton Street.

Many families had sons fighting for their country, but I wonder how many entire families were involved? The Westcotts were.

F Westcott was too old to join the colours although he did try. So he became a Special War Worker (SWW) and built huts in Salisbury from September 1914 until November 1915. He was then sent to Woolwich Arsenal until August 1919 where he gave valuable service.

His wife, Mrs K Westcott, was also an SWW and offered her services for Work of National Importance and worked at Milton Hospital until April 1919.

Their daughter, Miss E Westcott, also volunteered as an SWW and was engaged in munitions at Woolwich. In June 1918 she joined the Woman’s Royal Air Force and also worked at Milton Hospital, perhaps alongside her mother. She also worked across the south with her unit until demobilised in 1919.

Their son, Sergeant H Westcott, joined the 1st Battalion Hampshire Regiment when war broke out and was drafted to France.

He was at the retreat from Mons and saw action at the battles of La Cateau, the Marne, the Aisne and Ypres.

As if that was not enough action he was transferred to Salonika in 1917 and saw action at Struma and Varda and took part in the final allied advance of the war.

At the Armistice he was sent to Turkey and Constantinople (now Istanbul) with the Army of Occupation. In 1920 he was still serving there.

Their second son, Sergeant R Westcott, of the 4th South Wales Borderers, volunteered in August 1914 and took part in the landing at Cape Helles at Gallipoli and fought through until evacuation in January 1916.

His regiment was almost the last to leave the peninsula. Later that month he was sent to Mesopotamia an area within today’s modern Iraq, Iran and part of Turkey.

He later suffered ill health and was sent to India for treatment and returned home in April 1919.

The Westcotts must have been a very proud family to have had five of them all doing their bit and I wonder if any of their relatives still live in the area?

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