Albert Reginald Robert Coward was born on 26th August 1900, the middle of three children – all boys – for James and Florence Coward. James was a labourer and drayman for the railways, and the family lived in Shepton Mallet, Somerset.
Little remains of Albert’s military service records. His older brother Arthur was a Corporal in the Somerset Light Infantry. He died in France in April 1918, which may have been a contributing factor to his sibling’s decision to do his duty.
Albert enlisted in the 53rd Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment and, given his age, I would presume that this was as soon as he was able to – sometime in 1918.
Whether Private Albert Coward saw any military action is not known. He is listed as having passed away at a military hospital on 29th September 1918, although, as I have been unable to find a cause of death, it is likely to have been an illness, rather than an injury. Albert was aged just 18 years old.
Albert Reginald Robert Coward lies at rest in the cemetery of his home town.
Corporal Arthur William James Coward is commemorated on the Arras memorial in France. He was 23 years old when he died.