DURHAM, Alfred

Guardsman Alfred Durham
25203 Coldstream Guards

DurhamAlfred300Alfred Durham was the son of John Durham, a stationary engine driver and Sarah Ann (nee Bartle) Durham, of Pyehill Cottages and was born on 28th September 1895. They were neighbours of the Cresswell family. ¬†Alfred’s siblings were Mary Ellen b. 1874, John William b. 1877, Ann Elizabeth b.1878, Alice b. 1880, Bertha b. 1887, and Ethel b.1889. St. Mary’s burials register records the death of an infant, named Thomas Edward Durham of Pye Hill aged only one month. The 1911 census records that John & Sarah married around 1872 and that they had ten children in all, of whom seven had survived.

Alfred enlisted on the 15th January 1916 at Mansfield ‘for the duration of the war’, joining the Coldstream Guards. His given occupation was coal miner and his address Pyehill, Jacksdale. Religion ~ ‘Wesleyan’ and his next of kin his ‘Father’. His service record also states that he was a first class Lewis Gunner. On the next day after attestation, Alfred transferred to the Army Reserve and was not mobilised until the 23rd April 1918, whereupon he was posted to Caterham. At this point on the 17th July 1918, he gives his next of kin details as ‘Mother’ indicating that his father may have died by that time. As a coal miner, Arthur was in a reserved occupation and was only called upon for active service as manpower became stretched.

After the war the family moved in with his Father’s Sister, Alice Poole (nee Durham) at Pyehill, Jacksdale. Alfred married Bertha Slater on the 20th August 1921 at Riddings Congregational Chapel. They had at least two children, one of whom was named Marjorie b. 1923. Alfred died in 1977 in the Chesterfield District.

Alfred’s Aunt ~ Alice Poole was married to William Poole and they had a daughter called ‘Nellie’ who lived to a very great age and was known throughout the village. It was through Nellie that a wonderful story evolved in November of 2001. When Nellie died, she had thought that she had no direct descendents and left various photographs and a Family Bible to Terry Tomlinson, a well-known local photographer and collector. He had been a friend of Nellie’s for many years and he often had photographs published in local papers for her. In November 2001, Jacksdale Memorial Research Group held their first ‘Heritage Day’ in the Jacksdale Community Centre and we received a visit from Maureen Durham and her husband Tony. They had heard of the event on Radio Nottingham and travelled from Carlton, in Nottingham, to attend. They had come to see if there was any information we had on their relative Alfred Durham! We were of course delighted to be able to help and thanks indeed to the generosity of Terry, who returned the photographs and the Bible to the Durham family without a moment’s hesitation. A wonderful story, spread over many years.