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Person Details
Boston, Lincolnshire
Alfred Atkin was the son of James and Elizabeth Louisa Ward (nee Lamming). His father James Ward was born in Northamptonshire and his mother Elizabeth (Eliza) Louisa Lamming in Boston, Lincolnshire (birth registered 1861 J/F/M Boston Lincolnshire). They were married in 1884 (A/M/J Boston Lincolnshire) and according to the 1911 Census had six chldren although only five have so far been traced: William James (also James William) b. Drayton/Teddington 26 February 1886 (A/M/J Islington London), Henry Joseph C. b. Middlesex 1887 (O/N/D Pancras London), Mary Gertrude b. Teddington 1891 (Kingston Surrey), Helen Alice b. Bourne 1892 (A/M/J Bourne Lincolnshire) and Alfred Atkin b. Boston 27 January 1896 (J/F/M Boston Lincolnshire) bap. 11 January 1898 St Barnabus Grimsby. In 1891 James (32) an engine driver, and Eliza (31) were living in Teddington, Middlesex. They had three children, William James (5), Henry (3) and Mary (4 months). The family was living in Lincolnshire by 1892 as two chlldren were born there, Helen in 1892 and Alfred in 1896. However, by 1901 Elizabeth (40) described as a widow, was living at 24 Bellar Gate, Nottingham, and working as a laundress. Three of her children were living with her: Gertie (Mary Gertrude) aged 10, Nellie (Helen) aged 8 and Alfred (5). James William and Henry Joseph have not yet been traced on the census although James joined the Royal Navy four years later on 21 August 1905. In 1911 Elizabeth (51) was living at 3 East Wells Street, Nottingham. She was described as married (27 years) although on the 1901 Census she was listed as a widow. Living with her were four of her children: Henry Joseph (23) a smith (shoer), Mary (20) who was a plater for the National Telephone Company, Helen (18) a polisher (metal) and Alfred (15) who was a labourer. Also in the household were three male boarders. James was serving in the Royal Navy (HMS Speedwell). Alfred's older brother, James William, served in HMS Black Prince (308701 Leading Stoker) and was killed aged 29 at the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916 (Portsmouth Naval Memorial). A casualty report in the local paper on 8 September 1916 published photographs of Alfred and his brother James. Alfred's address was given as 1 Chatsworth Grove, Alfred Street, Nottingham. However, the record of UK soldiers who died in the war gives his address as Small Heath, Birmingham, an address also given for his mother and brother on RN records and in a family notice published in the local paper in July 1916 (50 Hobmoor Road, Small Heath). The later CWGC record for James gives only his mother's name (Elizabeth) and her address as Boston, Lincolnshire. No next of kin is given on Alfred's CWGC record. Alfred's brother Henry Joseph probably married Mary J Goodwin in 1915 (O/N/D Nottingham) and may have continued to live in Nottingham as he placed a notice of his brothers' deaths in the local paper in July 1916.
In 1911 he was a labourer.
01 Jul 1916
20
819089 - CWGC Website
1915
Enlisted Aston, Birmingham. Residence: Small Heath, Birmingham
Private
Royal Warwickshire Regiment
1/8th Bn Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Alfred probably enlisted in 1915 and was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Pier and face 9A 9B & 10B. As part of 11th Brigade, 4th Division, 1/8th Bn Royal Warwickshire Regiment took part in the Battle for Beaumont Hamel on July 1st 1916. They were to attack the Quadrilateral (Heidenkopf to Germans) which lies below Serre. Ward's battalion was to assemble in companies: (Left) D C B A (Right) Orders were that 'Waves will advance at 100 yards distance and as the objective is reached they will close to 50 yards.' The battllaion war diary includes an account of the action by Brigadier-General WR Ludlow CB compiled from survivor testimony and a battlefield visit two years later. Despite valiant efforts and some initial success, he concluded, 1/8th Royal Warwickshires were defeated by murderous German machine gun and artillery fire advancing across ground which offered no cover. (They suffered 90% casualties - extraordinarily high even for 1/7/1916). Ludlow's piece ends 'Well may Warwickshire and the City of Birmingham be proud of the fine discipline and glorious sacrifice which have added another immortal page in the history of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.' Later historians have never questioned the heroism of the Warwickshires and others (including the Accrington Pals) who perished below and around Serre but most agree the hill top, heavily fortified village represented an impossible military objective. Serre was not taken in battle but abandonded by the Germans in 1917 as they retreated to the Hindenberg Line. David Nunn (Source: 1/8th Bn War Diary [WO95/2756/2])
Nottingham Evening Post, ‘Roll of Honour’, 31 July 1916: ‘Ward. Killed in action, July 1st ,Pte AA Ward (Dick) Royal Warwickshires; also Leading Stoker JW Ward, lost with HMS Black Prince May 31st, 50 Hobmoor-road, Small Heath, Birmingham, formerly 38 Edgar Rise, Nottingham, brother and sister Joe and Pollie.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk). Nottingham Evening Post, 8 September 1916; Photographs with caption: ‘Left: Pte AA Ward (Royal Warwicks), 1, Chatsworth Grove, Alfred St., Nottingham, killed in action July 1st. Right: Leading Stoker JW Ward, lost with HMS Black Prince, late of 38 Edgar Rise, Nottingham’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk). Registers of Soldiers' Effects: his mother Elizabeth was his sole legatee.
Remembered on

Photos

  • Alfred Atkin Ward -
  • ‘Left: Pte AA Ward (Royal Warwicks), 1, Chatsworth Grove, Alfred St., Nottingham, killed in action July 1st. Right: Leading Stoker JW Ward, lost with HMS Black Prince, late of 38 Edgar Rise, Nottingham’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)
    Nottingham Evening Post 8/9/1916 (Page 5) - ‘Left: Pte AA Ward (Royal Warwicks), 1, Chatsworth Grove, Alfred St., Nottingham, killed in action July 1st. Right: Leading Stoker JW Ward, lost with HMS Black Prince, late of 38 Edgar Rise, Nottingham’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)
  • From 'A Short Description of the Battle of Beaumont Hamel, July 1st 1916 by Brigadier-General WR Ludlow CB, included in the War Diary of 1/8th Bn Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
    W095/2756/2 - From 'A Short Description of the Battle of Beaumont Hamel, July 1st 1916 by Brigadier-General WR Ludlow CB, included in the War Diary of 1/8th Bn Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
  • The disposition of British forces near the Quarilateral and Beaumont Hamel 1/7/1916. 31st Division included the Accrington and Leeds Pals, 29th included the Newfoundlanders decimated at what is now Newfoundland Park and men fom 1st Bn Lancashire and 16th Middlesex Regiments (Public School Battalion) killed following the detonation of a mine under Hawthorn Ridge.  From 'A Short Description of the Battle of Beaumont Hamel, July 1st 1916 by Brigadier-General WR Ludlow CB, included in the War Diary of 1/8th Bn Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
    WO95/2756/2 - The disposition of British forces near the Quarilateral and Beaumont Hamel 1/7/1916. 31st Division included the Accrington and Leeds Pals, 29th included the Newfoundlanders decimated at what is now Newfoundland Park and men fom 1st Bn Lancashire and 16th Middlesex Regiments (Public School Battalion) killed following the detonation of a mine under Hawthorn Ridge. From 'A Short Description of the Battle of Beaumont Hamel, July 1st 1916 by Brigadier-General WR Ludlow CB, included in the War Diary of 1/8th Bn Royal Warwickshire Regiment.