Alfred J Algate


About Alfred

  • Name
  • Initials
    A J
  • Surname
  • Date of Birth
    6 January 1896
  • Birth town
    Great Yarmouth
  • Resided town
  • Commemorated
  • Nationality
  • Place of death
  • Date of death
  • Married
  • Occupation

Service Information

  • Army

  • Service Number
  • Rank
  • Regiment
    Scottish Rifles


Alfred John Algate was born in Great Yarmouth on 6 January 1896, and was born to Henry and Lydia Jane.  He was recorded as a pupil at the Northgate Boys School in Great Yarmouth.  On the 1901 Census, Alfred is living at 10 Trueman Place, Great Yarmouth. His mother Lydia Jane Algate (called Jane on this record) was a self-employed laundress and was by then, a widow. Henry had died in 1899 aged 53.  Living at the same address were Alfred’s brother Percy, age 10 and sister Maud(e) and Edward Arnold who was listed as their lodger. Sadly, Percy died at the age of 13, just three years later.

In 1911, Alfred was employed as a milk boy. The family were living at 21 Apollo Garden Walk, Great Yarmouth, with his step-father Edward Arnold and mother Lydia Arnold, the couple had married in 1908. His younger sister Maud, was also living at the same address.

Alfred’s attestation papers reveals he initially joined the Royal Field Reserve Artillery, before joining the Royal Army Medical Corps on 3 March 1913.  Alfred’s records give a detailed description of his appearance, listing several tattoos: a shoe, horse’s head and ‘Ethel’ on his left forearm, and a lion’s head on his right forearm.

Alfred listed his next of kin as his mother Lydia Arnold and sister, Maud Algate, residing at 2 Waveney Mill Yard, Yarmouth and his older sister, Esther Lowe, residing at 11 Swansea Road, Norwich. On 29 May 1913, Alfred was held in civil custody, he was found guilty of stealing a bank book, value 1/- plus certain false pretences, and sentenced to six weeks. On 24 June 1913, Alfred was discharged from the Royal Army Medical Corps due to his civil conviction.

He had re-enlisted on 26 February 1915, on or about his 20th birthday, somewhere in Scotland we assume in an effort to conceal his previous conviction, he joined the 9th (Service) Battalion of the Cameronians, also known as the Scottish Rifles.  By landing in France on 1 June 1915, he became entitled to the 1914-15 Star.  We do not know how long, or where in France he fought, but we know that he was wounded and his wounds resulted in his medical discharge as a Private on 28 March 1916.  He was awarded the Silver War Badge in recognition of his wounds.

Alfred passed through Peterborough East Station and signed the visitors’ book on 5 July 1917.  He wrote:

“What is a fairer deed to do
As a fairer death to die
Thou to fight for our king & Country
And to honour the men in the sky.
Danger is threatening o’er us
like clouds from a distant sky
So we hope that the war will go with us
And victory to all the Allies.”

He wrote this book entry eighteen months after being discharged as the result of wounds received in France whilst serving with the 9th Cameronians (Scottish Rifles).  He had just turned 21 when discharged.  Family connections in Great Yarmouth could explain why he was at Peterborough East Station.

In 1918, Alfred married Mary Ann Fox in Bristol and they were living at ‘The Rows’, (a well known series of narrow rows of houses), Great Yarmouth between 1925 and 1929.

Having failed to trace him in the 1939 Register, we believe that Alfred died in Weston-super-Mare in 1961 aged 65.

Do you recognise the name and was he a member of your family?  Can you help us further?


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