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Alfred was the son of Walter and Ellen Cheetham. Walter was born in London and Ellen in Loughborough and as they had been married for 20 years at the time of the 1911 Census it is possible that they are the Walter Cheetham and Ellen Mellors who married in Nottingham in 1891 (A/M/J Nottingham). If this is the case, Walter was probably already living in Nottingham as in 1881 there was a Mary Lockwood with five children (Cheetham) including Walter (11), married to Thomas Lockwood, the children's step father, and living on Peas Hill Road, Nottingham. Walter and Ellen had four children; Frank b. abt 1891, Alfred birth registered 1894 J/F/M Nottingham, Mary b. abt 1897 and Ellen b. abt 1899. All the children were born in Nottingham. In 1891 Walter (31), a house painter, and Ellen (33) were living at 10 Northville Street, Nottingham (ecclesiastical parish of Emmanuel church) with their four children, Frank (9), Alfred (7), Mary (4) and Ellen (1). By 1911 the family was living at 48 Calcutta Street, Nottingham. Walter was still working as a houspainter, Ellen was a hosiery hand, while Frank (19) was a housepainter, Alfred (17) a messenger for a provision merchant, Mary (14) a messenger in the lace trade and Ellen (11) was still at school. It is possible that Walter predeceased his son as he is not named in the 'In Memoriam' notice published in the local paper in May 1919 on the anniversary of Alfred's death.
He was a messenger for a provision merchant in 1911
27 May 1918
1438460 - CWGC Website
He was living in Nottingham when he enlisted in Nottingham
South Nottinghamshire Hussars
Private Cheetham was drowned when HMT Leasowe Castle was sunk in the Mediterranean on passage from Alexandria, Egypt. His body was not recovered for burial and he is commemorated on the Chatby Memorial. The following account is by a local resident, posted on the Woodborough village website. The Hussars had been fighting in the Middle East and they were returning to France where they were to be re-formed as a machine gun company. Their new title was to be the South Notts Machine Gun Battalion. They were sent to Alexandria, Egypt and had received orders to embark on a transporter ship called the "Leasowe Castle" on 23th May 1918 ¹. On 27th May, the ship was struck by a torpedo with devastating results. A very detailed account of the fateful journey may be read in the historical records of the South Notts Hussars Yeomanry by G. Fellows. The "Leasowe Castle" was one of a convoy of six transporters and they were accompanied by a number of destroyers. The weather was good, the sea was calm and a brilliant moon shone in the night sky. At 1.30 am on May 27th 1918 when the ship was about 104 miles from Alexandria, the "Leasowe Castle" was struck by a torpedo on the starboard side. The engines were immediately stopped. The troops mustered to their stations, rolls were called, boats lowered and rafts flung overboard. The Japanese destroyer "R" stood by, while the remainder of the convoy continued on their journey at full speed. We are informed that perfect order was maintained on board, the men standing quietly at their stations as if on parade, while those detailed for the work assisted in lowering the boats. Lifeboats were launched in the course of forty five minutes and the rescue attempt continued smoothly. The "Leasowe Castle" remained fairly steady, though sinking a little at the stern, with a slight list to port. All of 'B' (Warwickshire Yeomanry) Company of the Battalion went over the port side and were picked up in the water. About 1.45am. HM sloop "Lily" appeared having turned back from the convoy to assist in the work of rescue. She ran her bows up to the starboard side of the "Leasowe Castle" and made fast, so that troops were able to pass quickly on board. Meanwhile the Japanese destroyer put up a smoke screen for protection. Suddenly about 3.00am a bulkhead in the aft part of the ship gave way, and with a loud noise the "Leasowe Castle" sank rapidly. The "Lily" had a narrow escape, as the hawsers connecting her with the sinking ship were cut with an axe just in time.
Registers of Soldiers' Effects: His mother, Ellen Cheetham, was his sole legatee. Nottingham Evening Post, ‘In Memoriam’, 27 May 1919: ‘Cheetham. In loving memory of my dear son, Alfred Cheetham, 1/1 South Notts. Hussars, who was drowned on the Leasowe Castle, May 27th, 1918. One loss at home, the home circle broken, one dear face missed from its accustomed place, but (-) and saved and (-) by grace, one more in Heaven. From his sorrowing mother, brother Frank, sisters Mary and Ellen.’ ’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Nottingham Evening Post, ‘In Memoriam’, 27 May 1920: ‘Cheetham. In loving memory of my dear son, Pte Alfred Cheetham, 1/1st South Notts. Hussars, drowned May 27th, 1918. For ever with the Lord. Sadly missed by his loving mother, brother Frank, Mary, and Ellen.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)
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