Alfred Edward Attwood and Bert Attwood

Alfred Edward Attwood and Bert Attwood
There are a small number of St Ives parents who suffered the loss of two sons in World War I. How much harder must that be when they are your only sons. Samuel and Eliza Attwood were two such parents.

They married in 1885, Samuel working as a labourer. Their first son, Alfred Edward, was born in 1890. In 1891 they were living at Prospect Place, St Ives. Another son, Bertie, followed in 1892. Two daughters were subsequently born, Evelyn in 1895 and Grace in 1900. In 1901 Samuel was a grocer's warehouseman. The family had three rooms at 7 Cumberland Place, St Ives.

Alfred Edward Attwood
Alfred married Hilda Rawlinson in September 1915. They lived at 3 Newton Street, Lincoln, Hilda's home town. He enlisted at Lincoln, probably some time in 1915 after marrying, and joined the 2nd Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment. Following training, Alfred joined his comrades at the Front.

He survived a number of battles and was promoted to sergeant. On 31 July 1917 the Battle of Passchendaele began, an assault along an 11 mile front. Today, the word Passchendaele is infamous as one of the bloodiest episodes of WWI. British Commander Sir Douglas Haig wrongly believed German morale was at a low point. The land was low-lying, comprised of thick clay. A ten day bombardment using four million shells gave the enemy plenty of warning.

Battle of Passchendaele
The quagmire that was Passchendaele
Alfred went over the top at 3.50am in pitch darkness in the Battle of Pilckem Ridge, the opening assault of Passchendaele. The German defences remained largely intact in spite of the shelling. On the first day 4,500 British soldiers were killed, most of the dead having no known grave. Alfred was one of those, killed in action on 31 July 1917 aged 27yrs. He is commemorated on Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Ieper, Belgium.

Do you have a photo of Alfred or any additional information? If so, please get in touch via the make contact page.

Bert Attwood
Bert Attwood

In 1911 Bert was lodging at Little Paxton where he worked as a gardener. He enlisted into the 7th (Service) Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment. Following training, his Battalion left from Avonmouth on 19 June 1915. They spent a short period  in Alexandria, preparing for an assault on Gallipoli. At some point Bert was promoted to Sergeant.

Landing at ANZAC Cove at the beginning of August, on the morning of Sunday 8 August they went into battle in an attempt to take the hill of Chunuk Bair. Their orders were to rush for the ridge some 600 yards away, as shown in the image below taken of the Gloucestershires during the battle. They experienced a hail of lethal Turkish artillery shrapnel and rifle fire.

Battle of Chunuk Bair
The Gloucestershires rushing the ridge of Chunuk Bair
The attack was halted forty yards from the enemy, where the surviving members of the Battalion did their best to dig in for cover. Under fire and artillery bombardment throughout the day, the remains of the Battalion crawled back to their own lines after sunset. Almost 1,000 strong at the start of the attack, all but 181 were killed or injured. Bert was one of those killed, aged 23yrs. He had lasted barely a week. He is buried in Embarkation Pier Cemetery, Turkey.

One of Bert's letters about his experiences in Gallipoli was published in the Hunts Post on 13 August 1915. By that date he had already been killed. His photo and confirmation that he had died of wounds was published on  3 Sep 1915, with more details given in the same publication.

Do you have any additional information about Bert? If so, please get in touch via the make contact page.

Source Materials
Click any of the links below to view original source materials.
1891 Census
1901 Census
1911 Census - Bert Attwood
Medal Rolls Index Card - Bert Attwood
Army Register of Soldier's Effects - Bert Attwood
Commonwealth War Graves Register - Alfred Edward Attwood
Commonwealth War Graves Register - Bert Attwood
Commemorative Certificate - Alfred Edward Attwood
Commemorative Certificate - Bert Attwood

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