Private Alfred LEDGER


Regiment/Service:
Duke of Cambridge's Own
(Middlesex Regiment)
Unit:
13th Battalion
Service Number:
G/10489
Date of Death:
7 April 1917 - Died of wounds
Age:
29
Cemetery / Memorial:
Cemetery Reference:
I. B. 7.




Personal History:

Alfred was born in the December quarter 1887, the son of George (Window Blind Maker, working from home) and Clara (née Wilmot) Ledger of 8 Hall Bank, Buxton. He had five older siblings, George, William, Maggie, Thomas and John, and four younger, David, Clara, Jane and Minnie. (1891 Census RG 12/2778 and 1901 Census RG 13/3270)
In 1911 the family were still at the same address and Alfred was working, like his father, as a "Window Blind Maker". (Census RG 14/21243) The Buxton Advertiser said that " .. he was of such a cheery disposition and always willing to lend a helping hand to those in trouble." The Advertiser also reported that Alfred had been ".. home on leave the latter end of May 1916, which was the last time in England."

Military History:
Alfred enlisted at Buxton and his Service Records do not appear to have survived. However, in reporting his death 'The Buxton Advertiser' (28th April 1917) stated that he had enlisted in May 1915. His Medal Index Card shows that he entered France with the Battalion on the 1st September 1915.

The 13th (Service) Battalion of The Middlesex Regiment was formed at Mill Hill in September 1914 as part of K3 (Kitchener's Third New Army) and attached to 73rd Brigade, 24th Division. In May 1915 they moved to Shoreham and to Pirbright in June. The Division moved between the 19th - 23rd June to Aldershot for final training. Lord Kitchener inspected the Division at Chobham ranges on the 19th August and next day it was the turn of King George V. Orders were received on the 19th to move to France and the first units departed one week later. Alfred was with the Battalion when it was posted to France, landing at Boulogne on the 2nd September 1915.

Alfred's Battalion was billeted between Étaples and St Pol with the Division completing its concentration on the 4th September. However, the Division's first experience was horrendous, after being in France for only a few days, the men were forced into lengthy marches before being brought into the reserve for the British assault at The Battle of Loos, 25th September - 18th October 1915.

Alfred's Division was sent into his first action on the second day, the 26th September, whereupon it suffered over 4178 casualties for very little gain. Alfred's 13th Battalion lost 38 men on the 28th, out of 44 for the entire Battle.

During 1916 the Division were engaged The Battle of Delville Wood, 15th July - 3rd September, and The Battle of Guillemont, 3rd - 6th September, both phases of the Battles of the Somme 1916. The first major action of 1917 would be The Battle of Arras (9th April - 16th May), but Albert was killed as the Battalion prepared.

In reporting his death 'The Buxton Advertiser' published a letter from Private A. Jackson, of the 13th Battalion, to Alfred's father outlining the circumstances of his death:

"Dear Mr Ledger - It is with deepest regret that I have to inform you that your son, Alfred Ledger, was killed in action about midnight on Good Friday. He was at his post with a Lewis machine gun, along with three other men, when a German shell exploded nearby, killing two of them instantly, wounded a third man, and a piece hit your son in the back, knocking him unconscious, and he died an hour later.

It may be of some consolation to you to learn that he died whilst unconscious, and suffered no pain."

Fourteen members of Albert's Battalion were killed on the 7th April, but three lie
alongside him in adjacent graves in Fosse No. 10 Communal Cemetery. These are
more than likely his comrades manning the Lewis Gun with him:


Sources:
· The Buxton Advertiser, 28 April 1917
                                                                                    
Link to CWGC Record
Pt Albert Ledger's grave
The 4 who died together
The men of the 13th Bn. who were killed with Alfred in the shell burst.
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