Square and its occupants who fell to the Germans

Pete Long's christening party in 1933. Left to right are his mother Lily, father Herbert, great-grandfather Hatcher, Lily's mother and, sitting, great-grandmother Hatcher with Pete in her arms.
Pete Long's christening party in 1933. Left to right are his mother Lily, father Herbert, great-grandfather Hatcher, Lily's mother and, sitting, great-grandmother Hatcher with Pete in her arms.
The telegram received by William Halls mother  still upsetting to read 78 years on.

NOSTALGIA WITH BOB HIND: Curse of the telegram: Dear Mrs Hall – your son is dead

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I asked some weeks ago where Constitution Square might have been in Portsmouth and I received a quick reply from Pete Long who tells me it was off Church Road, Fratton, between King Albert Street and Lord Street.

Pete was born at number 13 in 1933.

He remembers it backed on to Lord Street and nearby was Mrs Tuckwell’s sweet shop.

He says: ‘Unfortunately it was obliterated in 1940 care of Herr Hitler.

‘My grandparents Charles and Mrs Green lived there with her three daughters.

‘Charles was a cooper in the navy and was killed serving in HMS Black Prince at the Battle of Jutland on May 31, 1916.’

Black Prince was raked from stem to stern by at least five German battleships.

She went down with all hands – 857 sailors of the Royal Navy.

One of the Green girls was Lily and she married Herbert Long, a navy 
cook.

Promoted later to petty officer and away at sea for long periods, as they were in those days, Lily, with her young son Pete, lived with her mother at number 13 until 1938 when Herbert rented a house, 29 Avondale Road, which was also destroyed by a bomb in the Second World War.

By then Herbert, now a chief petty officer cook had fortunately leased a small bungalow (Vista) at Horndean and moved both families there.

At this time Herbert was based in Victory Barracks, Portsmouth, and also managed to save for a car.

Herbert was later drafted to HMS (Pepperpot) Penelope and was killed in action off Crete in 1943.

The family had suffered another tragedy three years earlier when Pete’s aunt, Betty Cornelius (née Green), lost her husband Cyril when the aircraft carrier HMS Glorious was sunk by the German battlecruisers Gneisenau and Scharnhorst in the Norwegian Sea in June 1940.

More than 1,500 officers and men of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force died.

You will see that Pete’s family suffered terribly with losses in both world wars – three men all serving in HM ships.