Albert Bierton

F/3278 Lance Corporal Albert Bierton, Middlesex Regiment

Born September 1892 in Ivinghoe
Killed in Action 23rd October 1918 near Forest (today Forest-en-Cambrésis), France

Family and Home 1, 2, 3

Albert Bierton was born in Ivinghoe, Bucks, the second of the five children of Eli Bierton and Matilda née Collins. His father was an Agricultural Labourer. Albert’s elder sister Rosa Elsie, b. 1890, is shown with their parents in High Street, Ivinghoe in the 1891 Census. His younger sister Ethel was born in Ivinghoe in 1895 but the two youngest children Violet May, b. 1st November 1896 and George, b. 15th April 1901, were born in Little Gaddesden. In the 1901 Census, the family was living at 34 Little Gaddesden.

Education 4

Albert attended Little Gaddesden School. He had started there in the Infants’ Class by 10th November 1897, when he was recorded absent with Mumps.

In 1901 he distinguished himself in the Religious Knowledge examination during the annual Diocesan Inspection.

On 10th February 1905, 12½ year old Albert left school from Standard 5 with a Certificate of Proficiency.

Employment 5

In the 1911 Census, Albert, aged 18, was a Domestic Gardener, living at 34 Little Gaddesden with his parents and three younger siblings.

Military Service 6

On 12th January 1916, Albert, attested for the Middlesex Regiment for the duration of the War. He was a Gardener, aged 23 years 4 months, living c/o Mr Bevan at High Street, Stanmore, Middlesex. His measurements were recorded as height: 5ft 9½ ins, weight: 142 lbs, chest: 37 ins; he was slightly short-sighted.

Albert was mobilised on 13th February 1916 and posted next day to the 27th Battalion Middlesex Regiment. On 21st March 1916 he was transferred to the 23rd Battalion, with which he went to France on 2nd May 1916 after only a couple of months’ training.

Multiple Wounds 6

Albert was wounded in action in the field 24th June 1916, suffering shrapnel/gunshot wounds to his left shoulder, back, and side of face. Treated initially at the 1st Canadian Casualty Clearing Station and 140 Field Ambulance, he was admitted to 13th Stationary Hospital, Boulogne on 28th June and returned to England on 30th June. Hospital treatment at Tankerton, Shorncliffe and Ramsgate followed, lasting until 2nd January 1917 and followed by 1 month’s convalescence at Epsom.

Posted back to France 6

He was posted overseas again on 14th June 1917, returning to France with 11th Battalion Middlesex Regiment.

Between 18th April and 8th June 1918, he was out of action again, suffering a gunshot wound to his right leg and thigh.

On 17th June 1917, after 9 days at the Depot, he was transferred to the 1st Battalion and, on 16th October 1918, appointed Lance Corporal (unpaid).

Death in France 6, 7

Less than a week later, on 23rd October 1918, Lance Corporal Albert Bierton, aged 26, was killed in action in France while the 1st Battalion Middlesex Regiment was involved in the Battle of the Selle in Picardy, close to the village of Forest.

Burial in France 7

Albert’s original burial place, marked by a temporary cross, was just under 1km South West of Forest (today Forest-en-Cambrésis) at British Army Trench Map reference 57B.K18.a.6.7:

1:40,000 scale trench map snippet
Extract from 1:40,000 scale British Army Trench Map Sheet 57B showing in square K18 Albert Bierton’s original burial place. Map credit: TNA/IWM/Great War Digital.

Here is the same location today, in the centre of this interactive Google map:

The following items were returned to his mother, who duly acknowledged their receipt: “Disc, Pick, Postcards, Greeting Cards, Photos, 2 Pkt Cases, Pkt Book.”

Albert Bierton was subsequently reburied at Crossroads Cemetery, Fontaine-au-Bois, Nord, France, Grave Reference I. I. 10.

Photo of Albert Bierton's grave
Albert Bierton’s grave in the Crossroads Cemetery, Fontaine-au-Bois, Nord, France. Photo courtesy of David Heard

On his headstone, the inscription beneath the badge of the Middlesex Regiment reads:

F/3278 Lance Cpl
A Bierton
Middlesex Regiment
23rd October 1918 Age 26

We will remember them 8

Albert Bierton is commemorated on the War Memorials on the village green and in St Peter & St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden. He is also named on the Roll of Honour in the church.

He was posthumously awarded the British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal.

Albert Bierton is also commemorated on the grave of his parents Eli and Matilda Bierton in the old churchyard of St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden. His sister Violet and brother-in-law Bert Chapman are also remembered here. The grave is located North of the East end of the church.

Photo of Albert Bierton's family's grave
Albert Bierton’s family’s gravestone in 2017

The inscription reads:

In loving memory
of
Matilda Bierton
Died 4th May 1945
Aged 74 years.
And her loving husband Eli
Died 27th February 1953
Aged 85 years.
Also Albert their beloved son
Killed in action 23rd October 1918.
“Reunited”.
Violet May Chapman died 6th Oct 1971
Bert Chapman died 19th Nov 1975.

References

1. https://www.findmypast.co.uk England & Wales births 1837-2006 Transcriptions

2. https://www.findmypast.co.uk 1891 England, Wales & Scotland Census Transcription

3. https://www.findmypast.co.uk 1901 England, Wales & Scotland Census Transcription

4. Little Gaddesden School Log Books 1887 – 1906

5. https://www.findmypast.co.uk  1911 Census for England & Wales

6. https://www.findmypast.co.uk  Wo 363 – First World War Service Records ‘Burnt Documents’

7. https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/296051/bierton,-albert/

8. https://www.ancestry.co.uk  British Army WW1 Medal Rolls Index Cards 1914-1920

Research, text and (unless otherwise credited) photos: Jane Dickson