BACON, Alfred Leonard

Private 11402 2nd. Bn., Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regt.)

Died 11th November 1917 (Age 25)

At Rest: Hamburg Cemetery, Germany
Grave ref.: VI. F. I.

Alfred Bacon

Alfred was born at Danesmoor, Derbyshire in 1892, son of Edward Bacon a stationery engine stoker and Elizabeth Bacon (nee Cutts). The 1891 & 1901 Census show the family living at Nutt’s Houses, Danesmoor, near Clay Cross. Alfred had six elder brothers – William a colliery labourer, Edward a colliery lad, Frederick, Arthur, Samuel and Ernest, as well as an elder sister Laura and a younger brother named Victor. In 1895, when Alfred was only three years old, his father Edward died so Alfred’s widowed mother Elizabeth took a job as a charwoman to help support the family.
The family thought that Alfred was under age when he volunteered, enlisting at Chesterfield, but his service records indicate that he attested at Chesterfield on 16th August 1910, aged 18 years and 7 months. His attestation paper states that he had resided out of his father’s house for the previous three years, was unmarried and his previous occupation was given as coalminer. Height 5’5″ Weight 140 lbs, chest girth 37″, complexion ‘fresh’, and eyes ‘hazel’.

Alfred Bacon and comrades

So, Alfred was a regular soldier who had actually served for some four years before the commencement of the First World War. By December 1910 he was serving at Plymouth, Devon and in April 1911 was admitted to the Devonport Hospital with tonsillitis. In April 1914 he was stationed at Fleetwood. He served at home in the UK until September 1914, being drafted to France on 8th September 1914 as part of the British Expeditionary Force. He was an “Old Contemptible”. Only five weeks later, on the 20th October 1914, Alfred was reported missing. He had been taken prisoner of war by the Germans. It was not until 5th January 1918 that the War Office informed the Officer i/c Infantry Records that a report had been received from the Geneva Red Cross. A ‘German List’ had been found and Alfred was named among the dead, having died in the Rifle Range Hospital at Pers. Laz.(?), Celle on 11th November 1917. The letter requested that his next of kin should be notified accordingly. His family believe Alfred was shot by the Germans, for refusing to work in the notorious salt mines which were a route to certain death.

Alfred was awarded the British War and Victory Medals, these and his personal effects were forwarded to his elder brother Frederick of Albert Avenue, Jacksdale. It is interesting to note, however, that no mention is made on his Medal Index Record Card of a 1914 Star even though his disembarkation date is 8th September, 1914.

Alfred left £80 15s which must have been made up of accumulated wages that the Army had not been able to pay over to him during his captivity. In May 1918 the £80 was divided into four and £20 3s was sent to each of his four brothers Frederick, William, Edward and Ernest. In 1919 a further £18 war gratuity was sent to Frederick.

BACON, Alfred L