CLAYTON, Alfred

Gunner Alfred Clayton
74896  10th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery
620390 Private Royal Engineers

ClaytonBes

Photo: Alfred Clayton with his sister Bessie in the back garden of the family home at 30, Dixie Street.

Alfred was born on 27th November 1897 at 24 Dixie Street, one of twins.  Alfred survived, but sadly his twin brother Frank died six hours after the birth.

On the 1901 census Alfred’s parents were still living at Dixie Street, Jacksdale.  At that time his father Frances (Frank) was aged 38 and his mother Hannah (known as Annie) was aged 35.  Sister Elizabeth (Bessie) was 8,  Dorothy was 6 and Alfred was 3.  In 1902 another son was born who they named Frank after the twin who had been lost.

Alfred enlisted at Leicester quite early in the war on 13th January 1915. Alfred’s attestation and service papers have not survived but his medical history reports that in September 1916 he sustained a gunshot wound to the upper thigh and the bullet lodged in his groin. His name appeared in the Times Newspaper dated 20th October 1916 one of 4,490 casualties in that week’s list who had been wounded, died or killed in action.  By the time he was examined at Glen Parva, Leicester the wound itself was healing but the bullet was still there. The bullet was located by X-ray and found to be resting next to his pelvis. Alfred was also suffering from neurasthenia and experiencing pains in his head and groin. He was aged 18 years and 72 days at the time and described as 6 feet tall and weighing 10 stone. He reported feelings of depression and was generally low spirited although he said he was sleeping and eating well. The bullet was removed by operation on 16th November 1916. During treatment he spent 34 days at Hendon Hospital, 54 days at Bagthorpe Military Hospital and a further 63 days at Kings Lancashire Military Convalescent  Hospital for ‘physical exercise and medication.’ He was finally released from hospital on 4th March 1917.

Alfred was awarded the British War and Victory Medals.

Before Alfred joined up he was a draper’s assistant and after the war became  a poultry farmer and also assisted the Duke of Rutland’s Belvoir estate agent, acting as his secretary. In 1929, Alf married Ethel Gregory in Lancashire. Ethel died in 1965, and Alf subsequently married Sally Taylor (an ex- Dixie Street girl) in Leicestershire.  He was a Methodist local preacher for 52 years and an interesting fact is that his father, brother and Alfred himself were circuit stewards in the Methodist Church on different circuits at the same time.  Alf was in the Grantham circuit, whereas his father was in the Ripley circuit and his brother at Derby South. Alf’s father Frank was Sunday School Superintendent at the nearby Pyehill Methodist Chapel and Alf’s mother Hannah, began the ‘Women’s Missionary Meetings’ there. A window in the Pyehill Chapel is dedicated to Alfred’s parents. Frank Clayton senior was also Secretary of the Codnor Park and Ironville Co-op, working from their offices in King William Street, Ironville and is listed as such in Kelly’s Directories for the years 1900 to 1912.

Alf Clayton died at the grand old age of 94 years on 18th December 1991.