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YOUNG, Alfred George (Updated 06/06/2013)

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YOUNG Alfred George, Private. 20665.

4th Battalion Grenadier Guards
Killed in Action 1 December 1917, aged 23

Alfred George Young
Alfred George Young
Image courtesy of Tony Young © 2013

Alfred George Young was born on 21 July 1894 (GRO reference Sep 1894 Epsom 2a 19), in Linton's Lane, Epsom, to Frederick William and Elizabeth Young (formerly Peckham). According to the 1911 census the couple were married in 1886, however I have been unable to find a marriage record for them.

Alfred George Young And His Siblings
Name Born - Died Notes
Rosetta Peckham/Young Born: 20 December 1886 Chislehurst, Kent.
Died: 1973 Woking, Surrey.
Samuel Frederick Young Born: 21 September 1889 Hampton Wick
Died: 1954 Margate, Kent.
Served with the Ox and Bucks Light Infantry
Thomas William Young Born: 1892 Epsom.
Died: 1954 West Ewell, Surrey.
Served with the ASC as a 'Horse-Keeper'
Alfred George Young Born: 21 July 1894 Epsom.
Died: 1 December 1917.
Mary Young Born: 23 November 1897 Epsom
Died: 1951 Epsom, Surrey.

On 21 September 1889, Alfred's mother gave birth to his older brother, Samuel Frederick Young, who was baptised on 17 November 1889 in St. Mary's church in Teddington, Middlesex. The baptismal record shows that he was the son of Frederick William, a labourer, and Elizabeth Young of Hampton Wick.

However when the 1891 census was taken, 28-year-old Frederick Young, from Tonbridge, was recorded as a single man living with his one-year-old son Samuel at Stamford Cottage, Hampton Wick. Living with them was his 33-year-old 'cousin', Elizabeth Peckham, a housekeeper from Tudeley, Kent, and her four-year-old daughter Rosetta Peckham, who had been born on 20 December 1886 in Chislehurst, Kent.

The following year Alfred's parents moved to Epsom, Surrey where his older brother Thomas William was born and, in 1894, Alfred himself was born. His sister Mary was born on 23 November 1897 in Lintons Lane, Epsom.

By 1901 the family were living at 11 Kingston Terrace, Kingston Road, Ewell and Alfred's parents were described on the census as being 'married'. His father was recorded as working as a general labourer and 7-year-old Albert's siblings were recorded as Rose aged 14, Samuel aged 11, Thomas aged 9, and Mary aged 3.

The family were living at 7 Cottage Road, West Ewell when the 1911 census was taken. This census required the head of each household state how many years the couple had been married and how many children had been born within that marriage. Alfred's 46 year old father filled his in claiming that he and 53 year old Elizabeth, from Tudley, Kent, had been married for 25 years, and that during that time they had had five children, all of whom were still living.

Cottage Road, Ewell in 2006
Cottage Road, Ewell in 2006
Copyright image courtesy of Clive Gilbert 2006

He stated he had been born in Tonbridge, Kent and was working as a general labourer for a road contractor. He then listed their five children; Rosetta aged 24, born in Chislehurst and working as a domestic servant, Samuel aged 21, born in Hampton Wick and working as a contractors carman, Thomas aged 19, born in Epsom and working as a grocer's carman, Alfred aged 16, born in Epsom and working as a grocer's porter and 13 year old Mary, born in Epsom, was still at school.
The 1913 electoral roll shows Alfred's father Frederick William living at Rose Cottage, Cottage Road, Ewell. The Ewell Old Boys' Association member 1913-1914 confirms that this was No.7, Cottage Road, West Ewell.

Alfred enlisted in London on 18 November 1914 into the 5th Reserve Battalion Grenadier Guards for three years or the duration of the war. He gave his age as 20 and his trade or calling as a barman. He lived at 7 Cottage Road. He was a tall, well-built man at 5 feet 10 ¾ inches, with a chest measurement of 37 inches and expansion of 4 inches. A mole in the middle of his chest was noted as a distinguishing mark. On 20 November 1914 he joined the Guards at Caterham, Surrey.

Alfred was transferred to the 4th Battalion on 21 July 1915 and embarked on 15 August at Southampton to join the BEF in France. On 7 May 1916 he was wounded, receiving a gunshot wound to his right leg, and was treated by the 4 Field Ambulance. He was transferred to the 15 Casualty Clearing Station on 8 May, and then to 14 General Hospital at Wimereux on 10 May. He was then returned to England aboard the Hospital Ship 'St Dennis' arriving on 13 May, and transferred to the 5th Reserve Battalion.

When he had recovered he was transferred back to the 4th Battalion, and once more embarked at Southampton on 12 December 1916 to rejoin the BEF in France.

The 4th Battalion Grenadier Guards was in the 3rd Brigade of the Guards Division. The Guards Division fought in the battle of Cambrai, (20 November to 7 December 1917) the first battle in history to use a massed formation of tanks. The British had taken much ground and had penetrated miles into enemy territory. On 30 November the Germans counter attacked, and on the right flank, south of the Gouzeaucourt-Bonavis road, they quickly broke into British positions. The Guards Division, still recuperating from fighting in Fontaine Notre Dame, was now heading into a bitter fight to hold the enemy at Gouzeaucourt.

On 1 December 1917, 81 men from the 4 Grenadier Guards lost their lives including Alfred killed in action. He is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial, Louveral, Panel 2. CWGC states he was the 'Son of F.W. and Elizabeth Young, of 7, Cottage Road, West Ewell, Surrey'. He is also commemorated on the All Saints church memorial, St Mary's Church memorial, Bourne Hall memorial and the Ewell Boys' School memorial.

Private Young's inscription on the Cambrai Memorial, Louveral
Private Young's inscription on the Cambrai Memorial, Louveral
Copyright image courtesy of Clive Gilbert 2007

His father was officially notified of his death, as his next of kin, on 3 January 1918. A fortnight later Ewell Parish Council resolved to send a letter of sympathy to Mr Young of West Street. (Epsom Advertiser 18 Jan 1918)

On 12 August 1920 his father acknowledged receipt of his sons 1914-15 star, and on 26 April 1921 that he had received Alfred's British War and Victory Medals.

With thanks to Tony Young for supplying additional information.

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