Alfred Edward King

Stop number ORANGE 6: Look towards the new extension to the cemetery, over to your right, and you should see the white CWGC headstone for A King.
CWGC grave of A King
CWGC grave of A King
Read Alfredís story below and when you are ready to move on click on the dot/circle for the Rackstraw family.

Alfred King's grave William Birch chair factory
Alfred King's grave Hughenden Road (SWOP BFP03163)

Alfred Edward King 1894-1916

My name is Alfred King. I was born in the year 1894 on the outskirts of High Wycombe. As a son of a skilled french polisher and growing up in a furniture industry powerhouse I felt I had a predetermined destiny of following in my fatherís footsteps. Little did I know my life would take a drastic turn.

My father Edward sadly passed away when I was a teenager. Left with no source of income and seeking an adventure abroad, my mother Rachel took us to start a new life in Australia. We had heard stories of great adventures from the many Brits who had emigrated to the vast wildernesses in the far reaches of the empire. Our new home was a picturesque farm in the wilds of New South Wales. We were beginning a new chapter in our lives and I felt hopeful with my whole life ahead of me. We farmed the land for the next couple of years, it was very hard work but we were very content. My life was playing out as a classic example of another British success story in the colonies, when suddenly war arrived.

As a young Brit abroad, I felt obliged to sign up and serve my country in its time of need. It would be a new adventure. I couldn't wait to experience the excitement of battle. Consequently, I enlisted promptly at my nearest recruitment base. I was eager to get started. I was put into the 25th battalion Australian infantry.

After undertaking a brief period of rudimentary training, we departed Australia in July on the HMS Warilda. After arriving in Egypt we were assigned to the newly formed Australian 2nd Division, but were later detached to the New Zealand and Australian Division to fight in Gallipoli. Arriving in September, my battalion's involvement was limited to mainly defensive operations and we all knew staying there was a lost cause. We remained on the peninsula for only a couple of months before the Allied evacuation in December. Shortly after my short time in Gallipoli we returned to Egypt. In Egypt I was told that I was transferred to the 9th battalion of the Australian infantry to fight on the Western Front.

In March 1916, we sailed to France's Western Front. On arrival, we deployed to the Somme and our first action was to be at Pozieres. Pozieres was a small village on top of a small hill; nothing like as big as Marlow Hill but it was a vital strategic position along the Albert-Baupame Road.

The village was supposed to have been taken on July 1st, the first day of the battle but although it had been attacked many times it was still held by the Germans. It was decided that on July 22nd/23rd we were to attack as part of a bigger attack across the Somme.

We succeeded in capturing Pozieres village itself within an hour; after which we rushed across the main road onwards towards a German strongpoint. A mere 200 yards separated us from Pozieres Ridge, the attack's main objective, heavily defended by the securely entrenched German troops. Two lines of trenches needed to be overcome before the ridge could be claimed.

We tried a few times but still the ridge remained firmly in German hands. I was part of the next wave to try to crack the German defences. Suddenly I felt searing pain all down my back. I fell down to the ground. I was certain that my time had come. I was rescued from the battlefield by my comrades and was treated for my wounds. I had been shot once in the right shoulder and once in the spine. The doctors felt I should have further treatment in England. I was transferred to the Royal Victoria hospital in Southampton on July 26th. I was treated there but slowly my condition worsened and I contract pneumonia. On August 13th I sadly succumbed to my wounds and died. My brother, who still lived in High Wycombe, was at my bedside. My body was then taken here - to my birth place, High Wycombe.

Alfred King researched and performed by James Sarl
Alfred King researched and performed by James Sarl
To see the performance on YouTube click here.

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