On this day in 1915…Alfred Thomas Edmond was killed in action on the Western Front – just four days after his father died on active service in France.
Alfred was a private in the 1st Battalion of the South Wales Borderers when he lost his life in Givenchy on January 29, 1915. He was 19.
Four days earlier – on the day of his father Seaward Richard Edmond’s death – he was involved in a brutal battle in the French village.
His battalion, part of the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Division of the British Army, repulsed wave after wave of attacks as thousands of German infantry soldiers rampaged through British lines and invaded Givenchy.
They were involved in desperate hand-to-hand fighting, using their rifles and bayonets in street and house-to-house combat to drive the Germans out of the village.
An eyewitness told a Press Association (PA) war correspondent that the fighting continued to ‘rage for hours, the enemy pressing on in swarms, in places reaching our trenches and in others penetrating beyond them’.
In Givenchy, ‘our soldiers distinguished themselves greatly,’ reported the PA correspondent.
‘One man attacked a house held by eight Germans single-handed. He fired at them and, with the help of two other men, dashed forward through a storm of bullets, broke into the house and accounted for the eight occupants, four being killed and four led off in triumph as prisoners of war.’
Alfred died on January 29,1916. His body was never found.
He is remembered on the Le Touret Memorial in France which commemorates more than 13,200 British soldiers who were killed in the Bethune-Armentieres area between October 1914 and September 1915 and have no known grave.
Alfred was a fireman with Great Western Railways in Cardiff when he enlisted on the day war was declared. He first went to France on November 9, 1914.
Alfred’s father Seaward, aged 49, a father of 12, died from heart failure while on active service in France on January 25, 1915.
Alfred’s brother, Harry Lewis Edmond (1892-1953) married Florence Louisa Davey (1892- 1961) in Canton Parish Church, Cardiff on August 30, 1914. Florence was the daughter of tanner William Henry Davey (1850-1923) and Mary Jane Singerton (1855-1943). Mary was the sister of William John Singerton (1869-1951) who married Dinah Arscott (1870-1938) on November 4, 1896 in Dulverton. Dinah was the daughter of John Arscott (1838-1897) and Susan Couch (1836-1896). John was the son of John Arscott (1807-1879), my great-great grandfather. Born on August 5, 1895 in Cardiff, Alfred was the son of Seaward Richard Edmond (1865-1915) and Esther Jane Lewis (1867- 1934).
Le Touret Memorial, photographed by Velvet on February 24, 2014 (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Monument_touret_2.jpg)