DAWE, Alfred Henry

Second Lieutenant, Alfred Henry DAWE
Aged 22

13th Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps
Killed in Action on Wednesday, 11th April 1917

Alfred Henry DAWE was born at Trevadlock, Lewannick, Cornwall on 5th December 1894 (Launceston Q1-1895 5C:17) , son of Joseph and Emily DAWE (née PERCY).

1901 census...Aged 6, he was at Wyddial Bury, near Buntingford, Herts with his mother Emily DAWE [39[ born Stoke Climsland, Cornwall and sister Margaret E [10], also farm bailiff George MORRIS [64] born Anstey, Herts. His father was still in Cornwall at Trevadlock on his father's farm. Also there were Alfred's grandfather, John Dawe, [79] farmer born Stoke Climsland, Cornwall; Alfred's single aunts Elizabeth DAWE [50] and Jane [46] both born in Lewannick.

He then went on to the East Anglian School, and in January 1911 he moved on to Leys School in Cambridge.

1911 census...Aged 16, he was a pupil at Leys School, Trumpington Road, Cambridge. His parents were still at Wyddial Bury.

On leaving Leys school (from http://www.launcestonthen.co.uk/lewannick.html) Alfred went to University at Downing College, Cambridge to study science.
From the Downing "In Memoriam" pages:- He matriculated at Downing College in 1913 with the intention of reading for the Natural Sciences Tripos and the Diploma in Agriculture. Following the outbreak of war, he joined the University's Officer Training Corps in October 1914, at the start of his second year. At the end of that month he took part in the College Debating Society's Freshmen's debate. In early November 1914, with student numbers in College and Cambridge dropping as members left on military service, he played in a joint Downing-Queens' rugby team against a team made up of Welsh Internationals and Cambridge Blues, afterwards described as a 'sound hard-working forward'. By the end of Michaelmas Term 1914, Dawe had obtained his commission in the King's Royal Rifle Corps as Temporary 2nd Lieutenant. A serious motor cycle accident delayed his going abroad with his regiment until February 1916, when he rejoined them in France.
He was the nephew of Elizabeth and Jane Dawe of Trevadlock who gave the land for the War Memorial in Lewannick.

He is recorded in the East Anglian Record of August 1917 as being an alumni.

In his Army papers, the "Living Relatives" form completed by his father on 19th September 1917 has his parents and sister Margaret at Ham Cottage, Brampton, Oxfordshire.

He enlisted in the Kings Royal Rifle Corps, applied for and was granted a temporary commission when residing at 65 Regents Street, Cambridge. He was 5 feet 11.5 inches tall (181.6 cm), weighed 154 lbs (70.1 kg) chest 33" to 36.5" (83.8 to 92.7 cm). Gazetted temporary 2nd Lieutenant on 24th November 1914. He was on sick leave from 29th May 1915 due to synovitis of the right knee, a medical board at Seaford passing him fit for duty again on 7th December 1915.

From http://www.launcestonthen.co.uk/lewannick.html:-
"On the 11th of April 1917 he was leading his company as acting Captain and, with another company, succeeded in taking Monchy-le Preux. He then went forward to select a suitable spot on which to consolidate their position when he was killed instantaneously."

The matter of his rank was discussed by his father in correspondence with the Army, who replied that Alfred was only ever 2nd Lieutenant, the fact that his father said his son was doing the work of a Captain and was overlooked for promotion due to his age was immaterial.

The actual battalion war diary, despite being several pages long, unusually does not name the officer casualties this day

CWGC figures show the 13th battalion suffered 31 killed on the 11th, only 9 have an identified grave.

Positions at the end of the day

memorial in Lewannick, Cornwall

photo: Rodney Gibson

Alfred Dawe is commemorated on the Arras memorial, Faubourg d'Amiens, Arras Bay 7

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