45179 Private Alban William Stanbridge, 3rd Battalion Suffolk Regiment
Born on 12th November 1896 in Little Gaddesden
Died on 19th June 1978 in Eversley, Hampshire
Alban William Stanbridge was born at Church Farm, Little Gaddesden, the youngest child of George John Stanbridge and Mary Ann (Polly) née Lee. His father was the farmer at Church Farm.
Alban’s father George kept a diary. The entry for 12th November 1896 includes the following:
A glorious day! bright & mild. Wind S… At 4.20 this aftn Pollie gave birth to a son! We did not expect it quite so soon. She was taken with pains first thing, & I sent to Dagnall abt 11, for the nurse: Mrs Rogers. I telegraphed to Dr Storey abt 2o’c asking him to come abt 5o’c (Nurse thought it would be time enough) which he did: but it would have been better an hour sooner.
Alban had twin siblings: George (Sonny) Stanbridge, born on 18th October 1895 and Linda Mary Stanbridge, who was born on 19th October 1895.
On 24th February 1897, Alban was baptised at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden .
On 22nd April 1901 George, Linda and Alban Stanbridge all started as Infants at Little Gaddesden School. George and Linda were 5½ years and Alban 4 years 5 months old.
Entries in the Little Gaddesden School Log Book show that 1902 was not a good year for the Stanbridge children: January 20th:
I am sorry to say Alban Stanbridge (Inft) of Church Farm has Scarlet Fever. He & his brother and sister have just had measles and were about to return to School. They were all rather old when they came to School & this will put them still further back. Dr Woods says that everything is being done to prevent the spread of the disease.
I have received this morning a Doctor’s Certificate stating that Alban Stanbridge and his brothers (sic) can attend School again. This little boy has had Scarlet Fever.
I am sorry to say Dorothy Wibden and Linda and Alban Stanbridge have Chicken-pox. Also Elizth. Wells.
On 31st August 1909, George Stanbridge, Standard 6 and Alban Stanbridge, Standard 5 left Little Gaddesden School to go to Dunstable Grammar School. George was then aged 13 and Alban 12. Whilst most Little Gaddesden boys who went on to Grammar School attended Berkhamsted Grammar School, Alban’s parents came from Kensworth, where both families still farmed, and still went to Dunstable very regularly.
Alban, 14 and his siblings, 15 were all still at school when the Census was taken on 2nd April 1911.
Alban William Stanbridge, a Horseman who was working for his father on Church Farm, attested at Berkhamsted on 31st January 1916 when he was 19 years 2 months old. He was 5 feet 11½ inches tall, weighed 159 pounds and had a 38½ inch chest. He was then posted to the Army Reserve and able to continue with his farm work.
However, on 26th February 1917, Alban was mobilised to serve as a Private in the Suffolk Regiment, Service Number 45179. On 13th March 1917 he was posted to the Agricultural Company Depot then, on 10th May 1917, to the 3rd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. That battalion was a reserve battalion engaged in Home Service defending Harwich. However, on 18th October 1917, Alban was discharged from the Army under paragraph 392(xvi) of the King’s Regulations, “being no longer physically fit for War Service”.
Graves’ Disease 6
Alban’s British Army World War 1 Pension Record contains a “Medical Report on an Invalid” which shows that he suffered from Graves’ Disease (an overactive thyroid). An entry in his Service Record dated 29th September 1917 states:
he first noticed 3 years ago that he got short of breath on doing heavy work & he states this condition became worse & he noticed a swelling in his neck 1 year ago. He has done 10 weeks full duty during the 6 months he has been in the army. He has been treated by X-rays twice a week for the last 2 months at Harwich & the swelling of his neck has gone down somewhat.
Alban was admitted to the Herman de Stern Hospital in Felixstowe for 3 days from 7th to 9th July 1917 with Disordered Action of the Heart, caused by his condition. Then, on 27th September 1917, he appeared before the Invaliding Board at Felixstowe. Their report noted:
Swelling of thyroid is only slight however he still suffers from Tachycardia. Pulse 160. Slight exophthalmos (protrusion of the eyeballs). He complains of breathlessness on exertion & difficulty in swallowing at times.
His condition was neither attributable to nor exacerbated by his War Service. However, his father who, according to Alban’s niece, did not want to lose either of his sons to war service, must have been pleased to have him home.
Men who have answered their country’s call in defence of a “Scrap of Paper”
Alban Stanbridge is named on the Roll of Honour, which hangs in St Peter & St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden and lists 119 men from Little Gaddesden, Ringshall and Hudnall who served in the 1914 – 1918 War. No regiment is shown on the original Roll, possibly because he did not serve abroad. However, 3rd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment has been added as his unit on the 2018 Centenary Revision of the Roll.
Rolls of Honour photos: Jane Dickson, Michael Carver
Following discharge from the Army, Alban returned to Church Farm where he and his siblings remained with their parents. Their mother Mary Ann died, aged 62, in August 1924 and was buried in the old churchyard of St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden on 16th August. Their father then died, aged 66, in January 1929 and was buried in the old churchyard on 14th January.
On 12th May 1934, Alban William Stanbridge married Marjorie Emma (Madge) Janes at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden. Alban, 37, was a Farmer then resident at Hudnall. Marjorie, 30 was the daughter of Fred Janes, Butcher, of Hudnall.
Marjorie’s older brother, Ernest Leslie (Ernie) Janes survived the war but did not live to see his sister married, as he died of peritonitis in 1923, aged only 25. Her sister Edith Emily (Edie) Janes had married Bernard Halsey in 1926 and her younger brother, Austin Seth Janes, married Edna Kathleen Saunders, daughter of Edward Saunders, in 1942.
Alban and Madge moved to Handpost Farm, Barkham, Near Wokingham, Berkshire, where they are shown on Electoral Register in 1935.
Their daughter Ann Marjorie Emily Stanbridge was born on 13th December 1936. However, by the time their daughter Ann was baptised on 24th January 1937, they lived at Holly Bush Farm, Eversley, Hampshire. Their second daughter, Georgina Linda Stanbridge was then born in 1939 and baptised on 9th July that year. Both Ann and Georgina were baptised at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden, their father recorded as a Farmer of Holly Bush Farm, Eversley. Alban and Madge’s youngest daughter Freda Stanbridge was born in 1942.
Alban’s wife, 40 year old Margery Emily Stanbridge, died in January 1945. However, although they had moved away, she was buried in the old churchyard of St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden on 16th January that year. In the Burial Register, her address is recorded as “Windsor”.
A Second Marriage 11
Three years later, in the first Quarter of 1948, Alban William Stanbridge married Alice Linda Harris; the marriage was registered in Aldershot, Hampshire.
Alban died, aged 81, on 19th June 1978. He and Alice had stayed in Eversley and their address was then 14 Paulsfield, Eversley, Hampshire. However, although he had lived in Hampshire for over 40 years, Alban was buried in the new churchyard of St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden on 26th June 1978. His widow Alice lived at 14 Paulsfield, Eversley until her death on 4th April 1979.
2. George Stanbridge’s Diary for 1896
3. Little Gaddesden Baptism Register 1813 – 1947
5. Little Gaddesden School Log Books 1887 – 1906 and 1906 – 1934
10. Little Gaddesden Burial Register 1924, 1929
12. Little Gaddesden Marriage Register 1926, 1934, 1942
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Research, text and (unless otherwise credited) photos: Jane Dickson