NOSTALGIA: What did sailor do to deserve a full naval funeral in the city?
These two photographs show a funeral taking place in Kingston Cemetery, Portsmouth.
It was of Chief Petty Officer Stoker Herbert Lea and it took place on April 27, 1914.
I need some help to find out why Herbert deserved a naval funeral of such scale.
The cortège had marched through the streets of Portsmouth and entered the cemetery via the New Road gates.
At the graveside a firing party fired a salute and a bugler played the last post.
Why were postcards reproduced of the funeral? What was so special about Herbert’s naval service?
The mourners included officers in full dress uniform wearing bicorn hats. Many of the sailors were wearing straw sennet hats which were passing out of fashion in the navy at that time.
Herbert, 40, died before the outbreak of the First World War. He was married to Ellen Martha who died in 1959. She lived at 73, Stamshaw Road, Portsmouth.
The photographs were loaned to me by Gerard O’Brian who was in turn lent them as the owner wished to find out where the cemetery was.
Although the postcards state that Herbert’s surname was Lee, in cemetery records it was put down as Lea.
If anyone has any knowledge of why Herbert was given a full naval service funeral or were perhaps related to his wife Ellen Martha, please get in touch.
n Last Monday I published a photograph of the former tram depot and shed at Cowplain and asked if anyone had a photograph of the scene in later years.
As ever, someone came up trumps. Mike Davies sent me this aerial photo of the shed in the 1960s.
He says: ‘As you say Bob, the tram company finished in 1935 and the depot was closed.
‘My grandfather, Jim Davies, was sent to Portsmouth from Cheshire by Fodens Limited to close their existing premises in Albert Road, Cosham, and move the business to Cowplain following the purchase of the empty depot and Victoria House next door which became our family home. He then ran the business and was joined by his son, my father Noel Davies, and stayed until his retirement in 1952.
‘My father then became manager and was eventually given the task of closing the business in 1966/67 when it was moved to Wandsworth. The site was sold to Ed Borrow, of Padnell Grange Farm, Cowplain, who had also acquired some adjacent property. ‘The whole area was then sold and redeveloped, the key building being the Waitrose supermarket now Lidl.’
In the picture you can see a substantial extension to house heavy machinery was added at the back of the building some time between its original build in 1905 and 1935.
Mike adds: ‘The alterations to the front door openings were probably carried out by the dockyard as the front section of the building was commandeered by Priddys Hard in the Second World War and used as a torpedo store.
‘Fodens were allowed to continue to use the rear access and that part of the building until it was handed back at the end of hostilities.’