Private 9286 Albert Betts

 Betts Albert 96 391x600
Apologies for poor quality photograph, but best to hand.

Killed in Action on Sunday, 20th September 1914, age 24.
Commemorated on the La Ferte-Sous-Jouarre Memorial, Seine-Et-Marne, France.

2nd Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 6th Brigade of 2nd Division.

Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Wolverhampton, Resident: Heath Town.

First landed France & Flanders, 12th August 1914.
Medal entitlement: 1914 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Heath Park Memorial, Wolverhampton.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/877740/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Albert E. Betts registered March quarter 1890 in Dudley.

1891 Census
15 Dudley Port, Tipton, Staffs.
Edward A. Betts (27, House Painter and Paper Hanger, born Bilston), his wife Sarah (29, born Ireland), and their son: Albert E. (1, born Tipton).

1901 Census
21 Wellington Street, Walsall, Staffs.
Albert E. Betts (36, House Painter and Paper Hanger, born Bilston), his wife Sarah (36, born Ireland), and their 4 children: Albert E. (11, born Tipton), James (9, born Tipton), Sarah (7, born Tipton), and Thomas (2, born Walsall).

1911 Census
19 Woden Road, Wolverhampton, Staffs.
Albert and Sarah Betts were living in Woden Road, Wolverhampton, but not their son Albert who would have been 21 years old. It is likely that he was serving with the Royal Navy, and no trace can be found of a census entry for him.

Personal Data

Taken from the Nominal Roll of the 38th Regiment of Foot (South Staffs)
Albert enlisted at Wolverhampton on 25th June 1912, and joined the Regiment at Lichfield on 20th November 1912. He was employed as a Shoemaker, was 22 years old, 5 feet 5 inches tall, and weighed 125 pounds. He had a fresh complexion, blue eyes, brown hair, and had a tattoo on his right arm.

Action resulting in his death

The 2nd South Staffs arrived on French soil at Le Havre on 13th August 1914 and had advanced to Haringies, near Mons, by 23rd August 1914 when it first came under German fire. On the 24th August the battalion received orders to retire - the start of the Retreat from Mons. The 2nd South Staffs retreat carried them to the east of Paris to Chaumes, a distance of 236 miles marched over a period of 16 days from the 21st August to 5th September. The Germans turned to the north of Paris allowing the French attack on the German flank which began the German retreat over the ground so recently won.

On 18th September, the battalion was ordered to Soupir in support of 4th Guards Brigade, and to remain there. On the 19th, their position was heavily attacked from 1pm till dark. Soupir is on the River Aisne, to the north-west of Reims, and just below the Chemin des Dames.

20th September, to quote from the Battalion War Diary: "Still at SOUPIR. For the last week or so the weather has been good, very heavy rain at times but the fitness of the men is excellent, the supplies have been received regularly every day at 2pm. C & D companies under Major Routledge were ordered to take over the trenches occupied by the 1st Kings Royal Rifles in the entrenched position at Soupir. The other two companies with Battalion Headquarters, were ordered to Chavonne to support the right of the Wiltshire Regiment (7th Brigade) who had been driven back, and at 7pm when the Wiltshire Regiment had re-gained their original position, these two companies returned to Soupir where they remained in reserve to the two companies in the trenches. 1 killed, 7 wounded." The one man killed was Private Albert Betts.

Newspaper Cuttings

Express and Star January 26th 1916
Mrs Betts of 19 Woden Road, Heath Town, is greatly concerned as to the whereabouts or fate of her son, Private A.E. Betts, 9286, 'A' Company, 2nd Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment, late of the Royal Horse Artillery.

He was sent out to France on the outbreak of war, and on September 20th 1914 was reported as wounded and missing. All inquiries from members of the family have proved abortive, and Mrs Betts has recently been informed by the War Office that the missing soldier, not having been traced as a prisoner of war, and in view if the lapse of time, it is doubtful if he is still alive. His case is under consideration with a view to the acceptance of his death for official purposes.

If any of Private Betts' former comrades are able to throw any light on the subject, his mother will be deeply grateful for any information.