No.15210, Private, Alfred WHITMORE
Aged 24

"C" Coy., 11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Saturday 1st July 1916

George Alfred Whitmore was born in Reach in 1891 (Newmarket Q4-1891 3B:526), son of Alfred Jonathan and Betsy WHITMORE(née BULLMAN).

1901 census...Aged 9, he was at Delph End, Swaffham Prior with his father Alfred WHITMORE [51] engine driver on farm, born Swaffham Bulbeck; his mother Betsy [50] born Wicken; sister Annie [12] born Reach and cousin (parentage unknown) Martha WHITMORE [2] born Reach.

1911 census...Aged 19, a farm labourer, he was at Main Street, Reach with his widowed mother and his cousin Martha.

CWGC have his mother's address later as Almshouses, Swaffham Prior. His father had died in 1906.

He enlisted in Cambridge.

The 11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment was often referred to as "The Cambridgeshires" despite there being an actual Cambridgeshire Regiment. This was due to the fact that the recruiting facilities at Gibraltar barracks in Bury St.Edmunds were overwhelmed by the number of eager volunteers, and a temporary camp was set up in Cambridge to share the load. This unit, taking it's men mainly from the Fens and having no official title, was quickly nicknamed "The Cambridgeshires".It soon became officially the 11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. The 11th was one of 2 Suffolk battalions involved in the action on the 1st day of the battle of the Somme, the 8th Battalion was the other, albeit in a support role.

The 11th suffered the heaviest casualties in the 34th Division. Moving out from Becourt Wood at 5 am towards their jumping off point, the giant mine at Lochnagar was exploded at 7:28 (80,000 lbs of ammonal) and two minutes later the attack began. Their line of advance was through the centre of Bailiff Wood. The enemy in La Boiselle were stronger than had been thought and the Suffolks were quickly cut down by machine gun fire. It was effectively all over for them by 8 am. All day wounded lay out looking for a chance to crawl back. Some valiant souls still tried to advance, a pitiful few reaching the German wire.

Of the 188 men of the 11th Suffolk to die on 1st July 1916, 147 have no known grave, Ivan COOK from Reach being another. see here

Alfred Whitmore is commemorated on the Thiepval memorial, pier and face 1C/2A
and also commemorated on the Swaffham Prior war memorial

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