LAST, Albert Ernest

No.75714, Private , Albert Ernest LAST
Aged 20

1st Battalion, Tank Corps
formerly 35422, Northumberland Fusiliers
Killed in Action on Sunday, 29th September 1918

Born in 1897 (2nd qtr Bury St.Edmunds 4a:802) son of Walter Charles and Emma LAST(née RAMBLANCE)

1901 census...Aged 4, he was at 186 Westgate Street, Bury St.Edmunds with his father Walter LAST [37] boot maker; his mother Emma [36] born Ilford; sisters Florrie [13], Edith [11], Victoria [6] and Violet [1]; brother William [9]. All except his mother were born in Bury St.Edmunds.

1911 census...Aged 13, a baker's errand boy, he was at 54 Guildhall Street, Bury St.Edmunds with his widower father ; sisters Edith, Emma and Violet.

His brother Frederick was killed in August 1918 see here

At 8:30 am on the 29yh all the tanks went over to the attack, the object of which was to breach the Hindenburg Line and secure the tunnel entrances to the Canal de Torrens
A Coy consisting of 12 tanks moved forward to the north of Bellicourt while B Coy worked south through Nauroy. The extremely heavy mist, combined with the dense smoke barrage made the maintenance of direction a very difficult matter and the compasses in the tanks proved of immense value. Eight tanks of A Coy were able to reach the Hindenburg Line where they crushed the thick belt of wire and succeeded in silencing a large number of machine guns. They then went on to their final objective, but two received direct hits and two were ditched, only four arriving at the further end of the canal tunnel.
Of B Coy seven cars made good progress and cleared much ground east of Bellicourt and north of Nauroy. During this operation two of their cars received direct hits, two has to stop due to mechanical troubles and were burnt out.Great success attended the breaking of this, the enemy's strongest line of defence, though had observation been better, much greater results would have been achieved.
A very good action was fought here by 2/Lt Hapgood's tank, which was ditched in the Hindenburg Line within 20 yards of the enemy. The enemy was strongly established at this point and directed a very heavy fire on this tank with trench mortars, machine guns and even hand grenades. Notwithstanding this, 2/lt Hapgood held out for two days, until the arrival of some Australian troops who succeeded in dislodging the enemy. This officer and his crew then unditched the tank and proceeded to the rallying point.
The battalion rallied in the valley behind Hargicourt on the evening of the 29th and the next day salvage work and repairs to damaged tanks were put in hand.

photo C.W.G.C.

Albert Last is buried in Hargicourt Communal Cemetery Extension B:4

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details