Day 40. PRIVATE ALFRED BARRETT NORTH 10/1285.

Day 40

Born in 1885, the eldest of six children to John William and Louisa North of Bradford. Alfred was resident at 51 Albany Street, Spring Bank, Hull at the time of enlistment.

A Draper by trade, he signed up to fight for King and Country at Hull City Hall on St. George’s Day 1915. Was it in a fit of patriotic pique that a 30 year-old man felt impelled to ditch all he knew for the trenches?

Alfred listed as missing on 26th June 1916 when he disappeared from the front line following a bombardment of the trenches facing Serre. On 12th December 1923 his mother contacted the army seeking news of the burial place of her eldest son. The response was one which I’m sure they must have typed many, many times:

“I regret that the only information I can give you on this painful subject is that he was regarded for official purposes as having died on or since 26th June 1916.”

Most likely Alfred was either blown to unrecognisable pieces or buried under tons of earth. His name in commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, the largest of its kind, inscribed with the names of 73,357 men who lost their lives on the Somme battlefields and whose bodies were never recovered.

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