Private 11168 Albert Henry Stephens

Stephens Albert 96 403x600

Died of Wounds on Thursday, 24th June 1915, age 25.
Buried in Grave I. B. 144. at Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension (Nord), Nord, France.

5th Bn., King's Shropshire Light Infantry. 42nd Brigade of 14th Division.

Born: Little Marcle, Hereford, Enlisted: Hereford, Resident: Ledbury, Hereford..

First landed France & Flanders, 22nd May 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

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

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/201715/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Albert Henry Stephens registered September quarter 1890 in Ledbury.

1901 Census
Bargains Farm, Little Marcle, Herefordshire.
William Stephens (62, Farmer – employer, born Pembridge, Herefordshire), his wife Mary Anne (53, born Eastnor), and their 8 children: Lizzie (25, born Little Marcle), William (23, Farmer’s Boy, born Little Marcle), George (21, Farmer’s Boy, born Little Marcle), Olive (17, born Little Marcle), Dora (15, born Little Marcle), Eleanor (13, born Little Marcle), Albert (10, born Little Marcle), and Mabel (8, born Little Marcle).

1911 Census
Bargains Farm, Little Marcle, Herefordshire.
William Stephens (72, Farmer – own account, born Pembridge, Herefordshire), his wife Mary Anne (63, born Eastnor), and 3 of their 12 children, all surviving: Lizzie (35, Mother’s Helper, born Little Marcle), Albert Henry (20, Wagoner, born Little Marcle), and Ralph Edward (18, Shepherd, born Little Marcle).

Marriage of Albert H. Stephens and Ada S. Elliott registered in June Quarter 1915 at King’s Norton.
Birth of Lucy M.A. Stephens registered March Quarter 1916 at Dudley.

Personal Data

The Tipton Library Memorial commemorates A.H. Stephens, the 'Staffordshire Roll of Honour' records Pte A.H. Stephens, KSLI. There are 2 casualties with surname Stephens from the KSLI: A.H. Stephens which matches the Tipton Library Memorial, and Jack Stephens which doesn't.

AH Stephens' entry on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War' says he was born and resident in Herefordshire. Initially, this does not look a promising match as there is no obvious Tipton connection, but everything else matches with no alternatives. However the story can be unravelled to explain the Tipton connection.

The marriage of Albert Stephens and Ada S. Elliott was registered at King's Norton in June quarter 1915. Their daughter, Lucy Mary Ann, was born on 1st December 1915 and the birth registered in Dudley, this was 5 months after Albert's death.

Ada was born in Tipton (23rd August 1894), and at the 1911 Census was living at 1 Park Terrace with her step-father William Stevenson and her mother Lucy Stevenson (Lucy had re-married in 1908 after the death of her husband, William Elliott, in 1907) - also a step-brother Thomas Stevenson. As Albert was likely to have been in the army at the time of their marriage, Ada may never have moved from Tipton, or she could have moved back there after the death of her husband, as she was 4 months pregnant.

After Albert's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £2/12/6d (2 pounds, 12 shillings and 6 pence); this was paid to his widow, Ada Silva (Sylvia?), in November 1915. His War Gratuity was £3/0/0d (3 pounds exactly), this was also paid to Mrs Ada Stevenson in August 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Albert had enlisted within the 12 months prior to his death.

Ada was granted a Widow’s Pension of 15/0d (15 shillings) per week for herself and her child, this was effective from 3rd January 1916.

Ada married Thomas Stevenson on 6th August 1916, with their marriage registered in Dudley. It is likely that Thomas Stevenson was her step-brother. Ada received a re-marriage gratuity of £50/5/9d (50 pounds, 5 shillings and 9 pence) of which £20/0/0d was invested. This replaced her Widow’s Pension, but the pension for her child, Lucy, continued until Lucy’s 16th birthday at 5/0d (5 shillings) per week.

Action resulting in his death

5th Battalion King's Shropshire Light Infantry were in 42nd Brigade of 14th (Light) Division, one of the six initial Kitchener Divisions authorised in August 1914. After training, they embarked at Folkestone on the 21st May 1915 landing at Boulogne. They moved by train to Cassel, marching to Bailleul where they were employed on work in the local defences.

They entered the trenches for the first time on the 12th June 1915, attached to the 46th (North Midlands) Division for instruction. There were 21 casualties during this time and they moved back for a few days rest.

It is likely that Albert Stephens was one of these casualties, as he died on 24th June in the 8th Casualty Clearing Station in Bailleul, and was buried in the adjacent Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension. By this time the 14th (Light) Division had moved to Belgium and entered the trenches near Hooge on the 24th June, the day of Albert's death.

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