CWG: Serjeant Albert West

Serjeant Albert West

Albert Charles West was born in Aldershot, Hampshire, in 1870. The second of nine children, his father Charles was in the army, while his mother Hannah is listed on the 1871 census as a “Soldier’s Wife”.

By the time of the next census, ten years later, Charles had relocated the family to Wells in Somerset – Charles had been born just up the road in Shepton Mallet, so, in effect, he was bringing his family home. By this point, the Wests were a family of seven; Albert had an older sister, Eliza, and three younger siblings, Mary, Joseph and Earnest.

Albert seemed keen to make his own way in the world; by the 1891 census, he had relocated again, this time to South Wales, where he worked as a minor. He boarded with a grocer in the village of Llantwit Fardre. It would have been a bustling house, because Albert was living there with the grocer, his wife and four children and three other lodgers.

The following year, Albert enlisted in the 2nd Battalion Welsh Regiment. Posted to India, he served there for ten of his twelve years’ service.

After completing his enlistment, Albert moved back to Somerset and married Emily Sparrow in Wells. The couple moved back to South Wales for work, however, this time with Albert working in a mine in Llanwonno, ten miles up further up the Taff Valley from Llantwit Fardre.

When war broke out, Albert re-enlisted, this time joining the South Wales Borderers. Sadly, little documentation of his second time in the army remains. He is recorded as having served in the 51st (Graduating) Battalion, which was a training unit based in Suffolk; presumably his experience made him ideal to train others and enabled him to take the rank of Serjeant.

There is nothing to confirm how Serjeant West died. All that is know is that he passed on 9th July 1918. The lack of any media reports around his funeral suggests it is likely to have been illness, rather than injury, that took him. He was 48 years old.

Albert Charles West lies at rest in Wells Cemetery in Somerset.

Charles and Hannah had nine children in total. Two years before Albert passed, their youngest son – Alfred Augustus West – died suddenly and unexpectedly. Records confirm that he was working on the lines at Wells Railway Station, when his foot got caught in the points. Unable to free himself, he was hit by a train and killed.

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