Driver 31682 Alfred Henry Wright

Wright Alfred 96 424x600

Killed in Action on Wednesday, 24th January 1917, age 25.
Buried in Grave Z. 8. at Carnoy Military Cemetery, Somme, France.

Royal Field Artillery, Guards Div. Ammunition Column.

Born: Wolverhampton, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Unknown.

First landed France & Flanders, 27th August 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/293422/

Genealogical Data

The following is likely to be the correct genealogy, but there is no absolute proof.

Birth of Alfred Henry Wright registered December quarter 1891 in Dudley.

1901 Census
Back of 63 Aston Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Joseph Wright (40, General Labourer, born Tipton), his wife Elizabeth (36, born Tipton), and their 3 children: May (16, born Tipton), William (13, born Tipton), and Alfred (10, born Tipton).

1911 Census
Court 2 House 2, Eagle Passage, Tipton, Staffs.
Joseph Wright (54, Ironworker at Puddling Furnace, born Tipton), his wife Elizabeth (46, born Tipton), and 2 of their 4 surviving children of 5: Alfred (19, Ironworker at Puddling Furnace, born Tipton), and Joseph (8, born Tipton).

Personal Data

The Tipton Library Memorial commemorates AH Wright; the list used to create the memorial shows him as Gunner A H Wright, Royal Field Artillery. The only likely candidate is Alfred Henry Wright who was a Driver in the Royal Field Artillery. According to 'Soldiers Died in the Great War', Alfred was born in Wolverhampton and enlisted in Tipton, this is likely to be a mistake and he enlisted in Wolverhampton and was resident in Tipton. A bit of a mystery!

Alfred's entry in 'Soldier's Effects' shows that at the time of his death no army pay and allowances was due to him. He actually owed the army 1/1d (1 shilling and 1 penny), there is no evidence that the army tried to collect this money. In November 1919 Alfred's War Gratuity was paid to his mother Elizabeth; this amounted to £8/10/0d (8 pounds and 10 shillings) and the amount and date of death suggest that he enlisted in January 1915.

Action resulting in his death

Albert Wright was a Driver with an Ammunition Column - this means that he was one of the team delivering ammunition from the ammunition depots to the guns. This was a perilous occupation as the cargo was somewhat dangerous, and provided an excellent target for German artillery as the artillery shells would otherwise be heading towards them at some speed. Unfortunately if they were hit by German artillery, the outcome would be severe as their cargo could itself explode.

The Guards Division was formed in France in August 1915 from Guards Battalions already serving in other Divisions. Alfred would have joined at that time with the 74th, 75th or 76th Brigades of the Royal Field Artillery who became the Divisional Artillery. After seeing action at the Battle of Loos in September 1915, their next major action was during September 1916 when they fought at Flers-Courcelette and Morval during the later stages of the Battle of the Somme.

In January 1917, the Guards Divison Ammunition Column had their HQ at Minden Post which was about 0.5 miles south-west of Carnoy, by then well behind the front line. The War Diary for 24th January 1917 reads:
"The following casualties to NCOs and men and animals were sustained by No. 4 Section whilst delivering ammunition to 74th Brigade 'B' Gun position:-
6066 Corporal. A. STEWART, 31682 Driver A. WRIGHT, 98026 Driver G. SMITH, 32594 Driver J. JONES - All Killed by shell-fire
7742 Driver H.E. SHEPPARD - Died of wounds.
6 mules killed.

The 5 men killed are buried in graves Z5 to Z9 in Carnoy Military Cemetery.

Newspaper Cuttings