Gunner Albert Henry Bentley

Date of Birth c. 1893
Age at Death 25
Date of Death 26 October 1916
Service Number L/45300
Military Service C battery, 190th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery
Merton Address 22 Norfolk Road
Local Memorial Mitcham War Memorial

Additional Information

Albert was born in the parish of St. Anne, Soho on 14th January 1892. His father Frederick was a Gilder by profession, and his mother was named Jeanette, a Laundress. He was baptised the following month at St Anne’s Church, while the family were living in Little Compton Street, Soho. Albert had an older brother, Frederick and a sister, Jeanette, both named after their parents. The couple had three more children, Rosina, Arthur and Ethel. Sadly, their mother died in 1896, and in 1900 Frederick married Mary Anne, a widow.

By 1901 the new family had moved to Devonshire Street, Holborn. Albert was now aged nine. By 1911 the family had moved to the Merton area, living in a substantial seven roomed house in 22 Norfolk Street, Colliers Wood. Frederick Senior's occupation was now described as a Silversmith and he had his own business. Albert had followed his father and was employed as an Electro Gilder, most probably working with his father. Except for Frederick Jnr, all the children were living at home, and the family had grown to include Hilda 8 and Leonard 7.

In late September 1915, Albert volunteered at the Wimbledon Recruitment Centre with the 190th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, and was allocated to “C” Battery as a Gunner. Wimbledon’s 190th Brigade (Wimbledon’s Own) would be the very last voluntary unit to be raised in 1915 as part of “Lord Kitchener’s Army”. The Brigade initially trained on Wimbledon Common, but by November they had moved to Aldershot Barracks. They embarked for Le Havre, France on 6 May 1916.

Albert’s Battalion may have seen action in the Battle of Flers-Courcelette (15-22 September 196) and the Battle of Transloy Ridge (1-18 October 1916). On the 26 October 1916, the battalion were stationed near Flers on the Somme, and were heavily shelled with phosgene and tear gas. The War Diary records that there were several casualties, including two other ranks who died of gas poisoning. It is likely that Albert was one of the two, as he was killed in action on that day.

Albert is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, as he has no known grave. He is also commemorated locally on the Mitcham War Memorial.


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