Project Description

ALFRED JAMES UPTON 1897–1918

Upton from new photograph

Photograph from the Cutler Collection 1911

Born 17th March 1897, Radcliffe on Trent

Baptised 4th August 1897 at the Wesleyan Methodist Church, Radcliffe on Trent

Died 13th October 1918, France. Age 21

Burial Pas-de-Calais, Bucquoy Road Cemetery, Ficheux, III F6.

Remembered on Radcliffe on Trent War Memorial

1901 Census

Alfred was living with his father James and step-mother Mary Upton and uncle Arthur at The Harlequin Nurseries, Radcliffe on Trent. His father, James, was a nursery manager. Alfred’s mother, Amy Maude (Eve), had died in 1897.

1911 Census

The family now had two children and were still living at The Harlequin Nurseries, Radcliffe on Trent. The house had six rooms. Alfred had just left school. He had a half-brother, John (Jack) Upton, aged seven

Military Service

Rank: Private. On 13.10.18 Rifleman

Service Number: 53139. On 13.10.18: 83439

Military Unit: 1/7th Battalion, Prince of Wales’s Own (West Yorkshire Regiment), West Riding Brigade, 49th (West Riding) Division. Previously Private 31536, 14th Yorks and Lancs Regiment, then 53139 2/7th West Yorkshire Regiment

Theatre of War: France and Flanders, date of entry 26.9.16. Total war service abroad 2 years

Attestation: 16.6.16
Alfred joined the army 16.6.1916 (so would have been a conscript) at Derby.

Age 18 years, 336 days

Address: The Manvers Arms, (father was landlord).

Occupation: gardener. No other personal details in record

26.9. 16: Posted to France. Embarked Folkestone, disembarked Boulogne

13.10.16: Posted to 14th Bn, Yorks and Lancs, service number 31536

14.1.17: Diarrhoea

3.2.17: Awarded 2 days Field Punishment no.2

Note: In Field Punishment Number Two, the prisoner was placed in fetters and handcuffs but was not attached to a fixed object and was still able to march with his unit. This was a relatively tolerable punishment. The soldier was also subjected to hard labour and loss of pay. (Wikipedia)

17.2.17: Scabies

2.1.18 to 16.1.18: Leave

17.2.18: Transferred to West Yorkshire Regiment and posted to 2/7th Battalion. New service number 53139

Date illegible: battalion disbanded and posted to 1/7 Bn

4.9.18: Gastroenteritis, re-joined Battalion 30.9.1918

11.10.18: Chest wounds.

13.10.18: Died of wounds,

Next of kin: James Upton (father) who received a 5/- weekly allowance according to Pension record card

Total Military Service: June 1916–October 1918

Medals Awarded: British War and Victory

Go to WWI Timeline to see how this man’s death is part of the wider story of the war.

From the War Diary of the 1/7th Battalion Prince of Wales Own West Yorkshire Regiment, 11th October, 1918

The diary entry for the day on which Alfred James Upton was wounded east of Cambrai.

03.50: Battalion in position of assembly along road facing east
05.20: Enemy seen taking up position 300 yards in front on high ground
07.15: Aerial activity – mostly our own
07.30: Intermittent shelling of assembly position
09.00: Zero hour Barrage opened and front line company went over in splendid order, enemy machine guns opened heavy fire
09.15: Front line company over crest of ridge. Prisoners coming in fast
09.20: Many machine guns captured
09.43: Lt Col commanding hit by machine gun bullet in thigh and carried down
09.50: Attack still running well
10.05: Enemy counter attack accompanied by tanks
10.15: Enemy tanks driven off by concentrated Lewis Gun fire
10.30: Enemy retiring
11.00: Front line reinforced but further advance delayed by disorganization and lack of ammunition. Enemy trench mortar captured
11.30: Further advance impossible owing to casualties
12.00 to 19.00 hours heavy enemy shelling and withdrawn to reorganize

Estimate of casualties 11 officers 468 other ranks

View the above extract in the original War Diary

Other information

Father signed acknowledgement of medals, 23.12.1920

Obituary

‘UPTON. Died of wounds on October 13th, Pte. Alfred James Upton, L.G. Section, West Yorks., aged 21, the dearly loved son of Mr. and Mrs. James Upton, of Harlequin Nurseries and Manvers Arms, Radcliffe-on-Trent, and grandson of the late Alfred D. Eve, formerly of Sneinton Elements.’ From the Nottingham Evening Post, 24th October 1918.

Reasons for inclusion on Radcliffe on Trent Roll of Honour

Born and lived in Radcliffe on Trent with parents and relatives.

Bucquoy Road cemetery

Bucquoy Road Cemetery, Ficheux