First World War Project
Albert Edward HADLOW (of Lynsted)
b. 20th April 1898
Private, Service Number G/59971
The eldest child of Terry and Ellen Jane (née Galloway), Albert was born at 59 High Street, Whitstable, on 20 April 1898. At that time they were living over a pork butcher's shop where his father was employed. The shop is currently an opticians. He was christened in Whitstable on 28 May 1898. Albert's younger siblings were Winifred May, Marshall Terry, Iris Kathleen and Harold Allan. Another brother, Cecil Stephen, was born in 1904 but died very shortly after. It is also recorded that there was another child that had died but records have not been found. By the time of the 1911 Census the family had moved to Lynsted, where Terry had his own butcher's shop at what is now 132 London Road.
On leaving school, Albert joined his father in the shop but it appears he had a real passion and talent for woodwork, painting and photography. Service to others also seems to have been an important part of his life, illustrated by being a member of the Greenstreet Division of the St John Ambulance Brigade. He had been the youngest member of the team to arrive and work at the scene of the Faversham gunpowder explosion in 1916.
As a member of the St John Ambulance he also undertook shifts at the Sittingbourne VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachment) Hospital. Once wounded men started to filter through from France, the men of the St John Ambulance acted as sentries, orderlies and transport bearers; firstly, at the Trinity Hall temporary hospital and thereafter at the newly built "Glovers" hospital (now the Sittingbourne Memorial Hospital).
During February 1917, Albert enlisted into the Royal West Surrey regiment and, after training, went to the front in September that year. He would serve for just six months during which time he saw considerable action. As with so many other troops at this time, preparations were being made for the expected German Spring Offensive. During January and February there were few opportunities for further training, as the West Surreys were spending more time in the trenches.
It is all the more poignant that Albert survived the initial onslaught of the German Spring Offensive through the Battle of St Quentin (21-23 March) and the Actions at the Somme Crossings (24-25 March) only to fall victim to a shell, along with two of his comrades, as the battalion was falling back to relative safety.
The battalion war diary describes Albert's last few days:
|24th March 1918||LICOURT – CHAULNES – OMIECOURT: 7.30 a.m.: [Sheet 66 FRANCE. Appendix III.; Brigade Memo L.Q.1 and 2] As the situation appeared more secure, the Battalion was ordered back to LICOURT. These orders were received to march to CHAULNES and the Battalion left LICOURT between 7 and 8 a.m. On arrival battle positions were taken up between OMIECOURT and HYENCOURT. During the night both OMIECOURT and CHAULNES were heavily shelled. The R.E. dumps at the latter place were set on fire by the Engineers to prevent them falling into enemy hands.|
|25th March||OMIECOURT: 7 a.m.: At 7 a.m. the Battalion was ordered to support a French attack at PERTAIN east of OMIECOURT. In the meantime, the Germans had heavily attacked the 50th Division, and had advanced and got into the outskirts of PERTAIN so the Battalion was ordered to take up a position East of OMIECOURT. The attack by then became the front line. The enemy debouched from PERTAIN and attempted to force us back by heavy machine gun fire and sniping from the houses, at the same time submitting OMIECOURT in our rear to an intense bombardment. The people on the flanks, especially on the right were severely tried. The fighting took place in the open and a very stubborn resistance was put up until the order came to withdraw through OMIECOURT. Very heavy losses were inflicted on the Germans approaching from PERTAIN but the Battalion suffered many casualties. Lt. Col. PIERS and Lieut SPARKES were both wounded. Major Rowland took command and the Battalion went back to the positions of the previous day, near CHAULNES. Orders were given that CHAULNES was to be held at any cost. So a move was made to trenches on the outskirts East of the town. During the night nothing unusual occurred except that a German patrol encountered on the CHAULNES – OMIECOURT road was driven off. Shelling was very heavy.|
|26th March||6 to 7 a.m. In the morning the enemy resumed attacks with CHAULNES as the objective and the Battn held them up. At 8.30 a.m. orders were received to proceed to VRELY and the Bde marched over the old SOMME battlefield via LIHONS and MEHARICOURT. Positions were chosen East of the village and as soon as these were arranged the men were allowed to go into the village and were billeted in barns. From this point the troops found themselves in long inhabited regions with civilians in some instances still in the villages they entered. Advantage was taken of this to live on the land and remove material which if left would only fall into the hands of the enemy.|
During operations from 21 March to 5 April, casualties from Albert's battalion numbered:
|East Kent Gazette of 27th April 1918|
TEYNHAM AND LYNSTED MEN
Three more names have been added to the list of Teynham and Lynsted men who have died gallantly for their country, namely, Pte. Ernest Cheeseman, Royal West Kent Regt.; Lance-Corpl. Joseph Henry Ray, Sussex Regt.; and Pte. Albert Edward Hadlow, West Surrey Regt. The two last named were about the same age, and were formerly in the choir together at Teynham Church. ………….
………….Pte. Hadlow was the eldest son of Mr and Mrs Terry Hadlow, of Greenstreet. Twenty years of age, he was a young man devoted to several hobbies—photography, painting and woodwork—and he will be keenly missed by his father with whom he had been associated since his school days. He was a member of the Greenstreet Division of the St. John Ambulance Brigade, was the youngest ambulance man who assisted at the Faversham explosion in April, 1816, and prior to his enlistment in February last year did a regular turn of duty at Glovers Hospital, Sittingbourne. He went to the front last September and was killed by a shell on March 26th. A comrade who has written states that the shell killed Pte. Hadlow and two others but left him (the writer) uninjured.
The same newspaper added, in their Roll of Honour:
|East Kent Gazette of 4th May 1918|
|Pte Hadlow was a brother member of the Teynham Church Choir, with Lance-Corpl J. H. Ray, whose sad death was referred to in these columns last week.|
Also, Albert's memorial service was reported:
|Faversham and North East Kent News of 4th May 1918|
MEMORIAL SERVICE AT TEYNHAM
There was a very large congregation at Teynham Parish Church on Sunday evening last, when the death of four men on active service was commemorated, viz., Privates G. Potts, E. Cheeseman, A. E. Hadlow and L.Cpl. Joseph Ray. The Vicar read prayers and the sermon was preached by Mr F. Honeyball. Gunner Rickards, of the Conyer Garrison, took the organ and played the Dead March at the close of the service.
Albert was posthumously awarded the British War and Victory medals. [See Appendix 1]
He has no known grave but is commemorated on the Pozières Memorial, Somme, France, Panel 14. The Memorial commemorates over 14,000 casualties of the United Kingdom and 300 of the South African Forces who have no known grave and who died on the Somme from 21 March to 7 August 1918.
Albert is also commemorated on the Teynham War Memorial.
Recorded as Albert Edward "Haddow" in the Register of Soldier's Effects, it records that his father received his money owed, which amounted to £8 3s 3d (£8.16p) in October 1918. In March 1920 his father also received the War Gratuity of £4. [See Appendix 2] Taken together these amount to roughly £700 in today's money.
On the first anniversary of his death, Albert was remembered by his family through the "In Memoriam" section ...
|East Kent Gazette of 15th March 1919|
HADLOW: In loving memory of my dear son, Albert (Bert) Hadlow, who died, March 26th, 1918, serving his country.
At the time of Albert's death, his parents were living at "West End" Greenstreet. His father would leave his butchery business and become a fruit farmer. His father and mother spent their last years living at Jeffries and died in 1957 and 1961 respectively.