Albert Worley

Stop number WHITE 10: Continue along this side and after the next grave look for the memorial plaque for the Worley boys on the second tier of graves.
 Memorial plaque
Memorial plaque
Read the story below and when you are ready to move on click on the dot/circle for the Wane family.
Worley memorial Oxford
Worley memorial Rear of houses in Jubilee Rd (SWOP HWS46708)

Albert Worley 1889-1916

I was born in 1889 into a large family; I had four brothers and five sisters! Like most families in Wycombe we were all involved in the furniture trade, even my mother carved chairs at home to bring in some extra income. Again like many families we moved around a little but never moved far from the centre of High Wycombe. For example in 1911 we were living in Jubilee Road and then a few years later moved to West End Road.

As well as working as a French polisher, my father was a preacher at the local Methodist church. We all attended the church and even represented the church at cricket.

In 1911 our father died; it was very difficult for us all. In 1915 I signed up along with many of my brothers, although one of them was considered unfit for service. I signed up into the 7th Battalion of the Kings Royal Rifle Corps. We underwent training in Sheerness before travelling to France in May 1916. My younger brother, Joseph, was also sent to France with the 1st Bucks Battalion, which included many Wycombe men. We left for France in different regiments; it may not seem a long way away to you, but for us it was the farthest from home we had been and turned out to be somewhat of an adventure for us. Not only were my younger brother and I serving our country and playing our part but it was almost a holiday before we arrived at the trenches. In a way, I forgot about the war as we travelled there. The Somme, however, is something I could have never forgotten, even if I lived to this day. The disaster of the first day of the charge was immense, as I am sure you all know. The largest loss of British life in a single battle.

I took part in the Battle of Deville Wood in the Somme before moving a little further north to take part in other battles. My life was not ended in the Battle of the Somme but that cannot be said for some of my comrades. Some who were more than just comrades. My brother. He died on the 23rd July 1916, with a shell piercing through his brain, one of the many deaths in the Battle of Pozieres that the Bucks Battalion suffered as a result of a charge. The Bucks attack was considered a great success as over 150 prisoners were taken but it also caused the death of many local men. Some of those who are buried in this graveyard were injured in this battle. The reason for the success was that the Bucks men had followed a rolling barrage very closely so they were able to attack the Germans the moment the artillery moved on. Unfortunately some of the men were hit by shells from their own guns as they were too close to the exploding line. My brother's last words were said to one of his fellow soldiers, and friend, from Wycombe, Tell Mother, Im going to meet my father. He died just a few miles away from where I was fighting. His body was never discovered after the war and his name is on the Thiepval Memorial.

Im now going to jump to almost a year later. I was involved in the Battle of Arras, a battle that seems to have been forgotten today, but caused almost 160,000 British casualties. The aim was to end the war in 48 hours and although gains were made on day 1, the stalemate continued. We were attacking the German lines in the First Battle of the Scarpe. The plan was to break through to a key German military fortification, but our battalion ended up on the receiving end of a powerful counter attack by the German artillery and guns. Amongst the screams and smoke, in what seemed like Hell itself, I hit the ground, never to get up again. You can visit my grave near Arras.

When our mother got the news that we had died it shook her, her husband dead and her two eldest sons buried in a far off country that she could never visit.

Albert Worley researched and performed by Cameron Spruzen
Albert Worley researched and performed by Cameron Spruzen
To see the performance on YouTube click here.

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