FULLER, "William" Alfred

No. 16888, Private, "William" Alfred FULLER
Aged 32

11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Died on Friday, 18th July 1917

Alfred Fuller was born in Bury, Ramsey, Hunts (St Ives Q2-1885 3B:275), son of George and Mary Ann FULLER (née PAPWORTH).

1891 census...Aged 6, he was at New Town, Ramsey, Hunts with his father George FULLER [28] stationary engine driver, born in Burwell; his mother Mary Ann [26] born Somersham, Hunts; brother Charles William [3] born Ramsey and sister Eliza [2 months] born Ramsey. Brother Andrew was born in 1893 in Ramsey

1901 census...Aged 16, a baker's apprentice, he was at North Street, Burwell with his parents (father now labourer in manure factory), brother Charles, sister Eliza and a brother Andrew [7] born Ramsey. It is believed that his mother died later this year.

1911 census...As William, with brother Andrew, both labourers boarding with the SHIPP family at Mandeville, Burwell. The rest of the family not yet found. Father and Alfred/William at some time were in Isleham

Main problem is that he was registered at birth as Alfred and by 1911 he was William and died and was buried as William Alfred (age recorded as 30) on the burial register. The Army seems to have him always as Alfred but have several conflicting aspects of his service documents by Service records and Pension Records

It is reasonable to have William Alfred and Andrew as brothers. see here

He attested on 24th November 1914 in Cambridge in the Cambridge Yeomanry battalion (Suffolk Regt.), a cement factory hand, resident in Isleham, giving his age as 29 years 3 months. Next of kin, his father George Fuller of Isleham, he was 5 feet 8 inches (172.7 cm) tall, chest 37" to 39.5"(94 to 100.3 cm), blue eyes and light brown hair
Initially in the Cambs Yeomanry Battalion, Suffolk Regiment he served in the 13th Reserve battalion before being posted via Folkestone to the 11th Battalion in France, on 12th February 1916.
He suffered a gun shot wound to the left knee on 4th July 1916 near Albert, France,taken to No. 103 Field Ambulance and then evacuated to England on 9th July 1916 on HMHS 'St David'.
On 19th January 1917 he was discharged as being no longer physically fit for war service, awarded Silver War Badge N0.115817. He had lost 2 stone in weight. Whilst at Leicester hospital for treatment on his wounds he had developed a cough which eventually was diagnosed as phthisis (T.B.) His intended address on discharge was Parsonage Lane, Burwell. His history is complicated by seeming discrepancies in his Army documents i.e. enlistment in March on 24th November 1914 (28 years 3 months) and another sheet it was at March on October 15th (29 yrs 3 mths). It is possible the earlier date was joining the militia. As to age, that was always dubious. He was recorded as 30 years 5 months old on discharge.

The day he was brought in wounded at Albert, the 11th Suffolks were relieved at 2 am by the 69th Brigade and were marching back to Becourt, to a camp in Long Valley a mile west of Albert. They had just been through a terrible ordeal. The 11th Suffolks, in the battle of Albert in 1916 suffered the highest battalion casualties in the division, 691 of all ranks. Bear in mind that a battalion was usually just over 1,000 men.

His death certificate, which gives him as William Alfred FULLER, a general labourer, an Army pensioner ex 11th Suffolks # 16888 gives date of death as 18th July 1917, NOT as on his headstone (1919). 1917 concurs with the entry in the Burwell Burial register.

William Alfred Fuller is buried in Burwell (St Mary's) Churchyard, SW boundary

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