LAST, Alfred
Strongly believed to be William LAST

No.541, Private, Alfred LAST
Aged 35

1st Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers
Killed in Action on Monday, 14th September 1914

So far unable to ascertain his civilian identity other than son of Mrs Susan Last, 7 Providence Place and then Almshouses, Long Row, Bury St.Edmunds

Susan LAST of 7 Providence Place, Bury St.Edmunds on his pension card, was the widow of Arthur LAST.

If indeed he was actually William, he was born in Bury St. Edmunds in 1879 (4th qtr 1879 Bury St. Edmunds 4a:580) to Arthur and Susam LAST (née GRIMWOOD).

1881 census...Aged 1, (as William) he was at 3 Providence Place, Bury St. Edmunds with his father Arthur LAST [26] gardener born Bury St. Edmunds and his mother Susan [29] born Norton.

1891 census...Aged 11, he was at 7 School Hall Yard, Bury St. Edmunds with his parents (father now recorded as born in Chedburgh); his brother Charles [9]; his sisters Agnes [6] and Edith Florence [3]. All the children were born in Bury St. Edmunds.

1901 census...Aged 21, a grocer's carman, he was at 7 Providence Place, Bury St. Edmunds with his parents (father now recorded as born in Chevington); brother Charles (labourer for oil seller); sister Matilda [8] born Bury St. Edmunds. Sisters Agnes was a servant in Walthamstow and Edith was away as servant in Bury St.Edmunds.

1911 census...Aged 31, not found in this cenus but his regimental number suggests he enlisted sometime in 1904. His father had died in 1908, his mother was alone at 7 Providence Place, Bury St. Edmunds.

Nowhere is there evidence of a son named Alfred.
William seems to fit in age wise. All the civilian documents/addresses seen tend to point to Alfred actually being William. He was always Alffred in the Army though.

He enlisted in Bury St.Edmunds before the war started.
4th September 1914..At 5:30 am the battalion marched out to support the 4th R Fusiliers who were in an outpost position close to the enemy on the road to ROUGEMAISON FARM due N of VAILLY. A position was taken up in continuation of and to the left of that occupied by the R Fusiliers. In taking up this position the enemy was encountered in some force and the gun fire to which our artillery could not reply was { ? ?}.
C company was on the right and took up an advanced position from which they had to retire with some loss. A and B Coys under Capt [ ? ] were engaged in wood fighting on our extreme left but had to retire from the advanced position they had taken up to the general line taken up by the Brigade which in one part of the position was marked by the line of a sunken road running due E and West.
Our casualties this day were very heavy especially in officers
The battalion [exhausted ?] the position taken up and gained touch with the 8th Brigade on our left and the R Scots Fusiliers on our right. Towards mid-night the enemy made a half hearted attack but withdrew after a few minutes firing.

CWGC have 30 of the battalion killed that day, only 5 with known graves.

Originally he was named on the Soisson Memorial but a grave was found in 1929 just north of Vailly in which were two soldiers from the Northumberland Fusiliers with enough evidence to identify them, and they were re-interred in separate graves, side by side, in Chauny.

photo C.W.G.C.

Alfred Last is buried in Chauny Communal Cemetery British Extension, France 6:A:15

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