16859, Private, Alfred James LANCASTER
Aged 24

14th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment
(He enlisted as No.14597, Hussars)
Died of his Wounds on Saturday 29th September 1917

Born in Hampton,Middlesex in 26th December 1892 [Kingston 2a:383], baptised 2nd April,1893 at Hampton St Mary. Son of William Edward and Lydia Annie LANCASTER, (née BIRCH) of New Street, Hampton, Surrey.

1901 census...Alfred[8] was at 12 Main Street, Hanworth, Middlesex with his father William Edward [43, a plumber born Melbourne, Australia; his mother Lydia Annie [36] born Bow, London; his brother William G [16] born Dulwich, and sisters Lilian J [14] born Dulwich; Florence V [10] born Hampton, and Catherine E [4] born Hanworth.

1911 census...Alfred [18] was an 18 yrs old stablelad with Joe Cannon at Stanley House Stables, Bury Road, Newmarket.His mother and brother George were still in Hanworth as florists, the rest of the family is scattered.

His parents were later at "L'Autre" Bungalow, Stanwell Moor, Middlesex.

He enlisted in London and gave his address as that of his parents. It is not known with which Hussars he initially served. His medal card shows he first went into action in the Balkans. As per his medal card, that would have been with the 2nd Hampshires who sailed from Avonmouth on 29 March 1915 for Gallipoli, going via Egypt and landing at Cape Helles on 25 April 1915.
The 14th Battalion sailed to France, landing at Le Havre on 6th March 1916. It is not possible to be completely sure in the absence of his Army records and the fact that Alfred died of gassing (according to the cemetery register), exactly when and where he was injured. Certainly it appears to have been in the 3rd Battle of Ypres (Passchendael), the following is highly likely;

On the night of the 25th of September 1917 the 14th Hampshires moved forward from reserve positions for an attack the following morning. Their objective was the German position known as Tower Hamlets and "Tower Trench" behind them. These positions had failed to fall during an assault on the 20th and it had been decided to attack them again. Major Frank Goldsmith led the 14th Hampshires in the attack, At 5.30am the battalion went over the top and almost immediately Major Goldsmith was fatally wounded. His place was taken by Captain Dawson who led his men in a successful attack which led to the capture and consolidation of Tower Hamlets. On the 27th the battalion was relieved having suffered losses of 4 officers and 75 other ranks killed with 3 officers and 118 men wounded.

There were three C.C.S. at Godewaersvelde where Alfred is buried, 16 km west of Ypres, the Hampshires were fighting to the south east of Ypres

© Roy Beardsworth

James is buried in Godewaersvelde British Cemtery, France - Ref: I.J.25
and also commemorated on the plaque in the New Astley Club, Fred Archer Way, Newmarket

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