Private 18870 Alfred Hale

Died Home on Thursday, 11th July 1918, age 36.
Buried in Grave C. 113B. at Tipton Cemetery, Staffordshire, United Kingdom.

8th Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 51st Brigade of 17th Division.

Husband of Mrs Jane Hale, 1 Court 4 House Albion Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 1st March 1916.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives survived and transcribed.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: Not commemorated on CWGC, died after discharged from Army.

Genealogical Data

Birth of Alfred Hale registered September quarter 1882 in Dudley.

Alfred Hale’s father, Thomas Hale, died in 1891. Alfred’s mother, Esther, re-married in 1898 to William Smith.

1901 Census
1 Court 4 House, Albion Street, Tipton, Staffs.
William Smith (50, Coal Miner – Pikeman, born Tipton), his wife Esther (50, born Tipton), 2 of William’s children: Joseph Smith (24, Coal Miner – Labourer, born Tipton) and William Smith (21, Coal Miner - Pikeman, born Tipton), Esther’s son: Alfred Hale (18, Groom, born Tipton), and William and Esther’s son: Albert (7, born Tipton).

Marriage of Alfred Hale and Jane Pursell registered September quarter 1902 in Dudley.

1911 Census
1 Court 4 House, Albion Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Alfred Hale (28, Horse Keeper for General Carrier, born Tipton), his wife Jane (28, born Tipton), and their 4 children: Arthur (8, School, born Tipton) Thomas Alfred (4, born Tipton), James (3, born Tipton), and Sarah (1, born Tipton).
A further 4 children were born: Florence Eva born 3rd February 1912, Esther born 21st April 1913, Bert born 28th December 1915, and John born 30th July 1917.

Personal Data

Alfred Hale proved difficult to identify correctly. This was because he died 2 years after being discharged from the army due to sickness, and is not recorded on the Commonwealth War Graves records. The belated correct identification is thanks to Alfred’s great grandson, Scott, getting in contact.

Alfred Hale enlisted 10th May 1915 at Tipton, arriving at Lichfield to join the South Staffordshire Regiment on 14th May. At enlistment he was 31 years and 207 days old, 5 feet 4 inches tall with a 35-inch chest. He was employed as a ‘Horse Driver’, and gave his address as 1 House 5 Court, Union Street, Tipton.

On 23rd May, Alfred was posted to the 4th Battalion, South Staffs for training, at this time stationed in Jersey. On 1st March 1916, Alfred landed in France and was posted to the 8th Battalion South Staffs (8/SS). The War Diary of the 8/SS for 6th March records that a draft of 50 Other Ranks arrived, this could have included Alfred.

At this time the 8/SS had just left the Ypres sector where they had endured a difficult time during February when they had 2 Officers and 46 Other Ranks killed. This was mainly on the 15th and 16th February when they were in action at The Bluff, about 3 miles south east of Ypres. The Battalion had moved south to Armentieres where they remained for the duration of Alfred’s service.

Just over 2 months later, Alfred arrived back in England on 14th May 1916 and was posted to the Depot Battalion, undoubtedly due to sickness. A month later on 14th June, Alfred was discharged from the Army as “no longer fit for War Service”, his Silver War Badge is recorded as being issued in March 1918.

On 1st August 1916, the South Staffs Paymaster at Lichfield received notification from the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, that Alfred had been awarded a pension of £1 per week for a period of 6 months. It is not recorded if this was extended beyond the initial period.

After Alfred’s death, his Pension Card shows that his widow Jane received a pension of £2/6/3d (2 pounds, 6 shillings and 3 pence) per week for herself and their 7 children, effective from 20th October 1918. Their 8th child, John, was born after Alfred had been discharged from the Army, and so was not eligible for a pension payment. Jane also received a grant of £12/0/0d (12 pounds exactly) on 5th September 1918, and £10/7/8d (10 pounds, 7 shillings and 8 pence) being arrears due for the period before her pension commenced.

The pension in respect of Jane would have ceased in December quarter 1919 when she married James H. Whitehouse and would have received a re-marriage grant. The pension in respect of the children would have continued until their 16th birthdays.

Action resulting in his death

Alfred died on 11th July 1918 in Tipton, some 2 years after he had been discharged from the Army. His pension card records that the cause of his death was Pulmonary Tuberculosis which had been contracted whilst on Active Service.

Alfred was buried in Tipton Cemetery on 17th July 1918. Alfred does not have a Commonwealth War Graves gravestone, and is not commemorated on the CWGC ‘Debt of Honour’ register even though his pension card indicated that Pulmonary Tuberculosis had been contracted on active service.

Newspaper Cuttings