We should forever cherish the memories of the brave

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Some roads and families went above and beyond the call of duty in the First World War.

One such notable address was Byerley Road, Fratton.

Torpedo instructor Chief Petty Officer Francis Bell lived at 10 Byerley Road.

Francis had joined the navy in 1895 and had served in the Grand Fleet on the C Class destroyer HMS Caroline.

Owing to an illness contracted while still on active service he was discharged and subsequently died on September 4, 1916.

HMS Caroline is still afloat and the last surviving ship from the Battle of Jutland.

She has been moored at Alexandra Dock in Belfast since 1923.

She looks a little different now than how she did in wartime.

It was hoped she would come to Portsmouth but it appears that the Northern Ireland government had different ideas and has announced she will remain in Belfast.

At 19 Byerley Road lived Alfred Cheeseman who was in the Royal Marine Light Infantry, where he had served since 1904.

He died when HMS Natal blew up in the Cromarty Firth due to an internal explosion.

It is one of the rare cases where civilians died along with serving personnel.

On December 30, 1915 the commander of the ship, Captain Eric Black, was holding a film show for officers, their wives and and children, and a few nurses from the hospital ship Drina as part of Christmas festivities.

How many civilians were on board that day has never been ascertained, but it is thought there were seven women, one civilian friend and three children.

An internal explosion caused the Natal to turn-turtle and sink.

It is thought that 390 men, including Alfred, died but this figure was updated to count for the civilian losses and the final count was 421.

There were two other men who lived in Byerley Road who had served for many years, indeed, one had served thirty-two years and was on reserve when the war broke out.

Chief Petty Officer J.E. Drake of 35 Byerley Road joined the senior service in 1882 and, having done his bit, was on reserve in 1914.

He was recalled in August of that year and posted to HMS Vernon.

After many requests to return to the sea he was told he was unsuccessful in obtaining a transfer to a sea-going ship.

CPO Drake rendered invaluable service for five years after his recall and was discharged in March 1919 after a total of 37 years service.

Chief Stoker E.W. Drake lived at 9 Byerley Road and had joined up in 1895.

He took part in the Battle of Heligoland Bight in 1914, the Battle of Dogger Bank in 1915 and the Battle of Jutland in 1916.

He later served in the Mediterranean in minesweeping duties until he was discharged in March 1919 after 24 years’ service to Queen, King and country.

Looking through the roll of honour there are many occasions when the same family name appears in the same street.

Adams is typical family surname located all over the town.

The name appears in Crasswell Street, Surrey Street and Timpson Road, Landport, Belmont and Henrietta streets, Southsea, Kent Street and Orange Street, Portsea.

Bailey occurs 19 times and Brown appears 30 times, as the name is so common. Some of them must have been related.

Here’s another family with an illustrious record...

The following family information was sent to me by Charles Cox, formerly Newman.

He was Christened Charles in honour of his late uncle who killed in action in 1916, and adopted later in life.

In 1937 Albert George Newman - known as George Newman - met Kathleen Grace Futcher, uniting two fervently patriotic families.

In the First World War the following relatives of George Newman served: Charles Frances Newman (father) – enlisted in 16th Battalion, 3RD Portsmouth Pals; Charles Newman (brother) – enlisted in 15th Battalion, second Portsmouth Pals, and was killed at Flers-Courcelette on September 15, 1916; Alfred Charles Newman (brother) – enlisted in 15th Battalion, second Portsmouth Pals and William James Newman (brother) – enlisted in 233 company Royal Engineers.

The following relatives of Kathleen Futcher served in the Great War; Percy Futcher (brother) enlisted in 15th Battalion, second Portsmouth Pals; Frederick Futcher (Father) enlisted in 16th Battalion, third Portsmouth Pals; Walter Futcher (Brother) enlisted in Army Service Corps; Augustus Futcher ([Brother) enlisted in 1/7 Devon Cyclist Regiment; William Russell (brother-in-law) enlisted in 15th Battalion, second Portsmouth Pals; Alfred Cecil Russell (nephew, aged 13) enlisted in the Royal Marine Artillery; John Henwood (grandfather) enlisted in Army Service Corps; William Henwood (uncle) enlisted in the Royal Navy.

Albert George Newman was too young to serve in the First World War but did manage to serve in the army, Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force, earning medals with each service.

What a proud family they must have been.

This series continues next week.