Albert Arthur Shrubsall was born in Deptford, South London, in April 1896. He was the youngest of three children – all boys – to ironmonger George Shrubsall and his wife Jessie.
While his brothers continued to live at home after they had left school and got jobs, Albert found live-in work as a pageboy, or servant, for Wilfred Lineham, who was a professor of engineering for a London college. It was while he was working here that his mother, Jessie, passed away. She died in 1913, aged just 43.
Details of Albert’s military service are a bit scant. He enlisted in the Royal Marine Light Infantry, although I have been unable to confirm when he joined up. He was assigned to the Chatham Division, and was based at the Naval Dockyard in Kent, ultimately being promoted to Corporal.
Albert married Gertrude Spoore – affectionately known a ‘Ginty’ – in Deptford in October 1917. Sadly, the marriage was to las less than six months, as, on 9th April 1918, Albert passed away, having contracted pneumonia and septicaemia. He was just 22 years old.
Albert lies at rest in the Woodlands Cemetery in his adopted home town of Gillingham in Kent.
Albert’s two brothers George and Alfred were also involved in the First World War.
George, had gone on to become a tailor’s assistant when he left school. He married Emily Hawkes in 1911, and the couple went on to have a son, also called George, the following year.
When war broke out, he enlisted in the Machine Gun Corps, and served on the Western Front. Sadly, he was caught up in the fighting, and was killed in action on 22nd August 1917. He was buried at the Tyne Cot Memorial in Flanders.
When he left school, Alfred went on to become a butcher’s assistant. War came along, and he enlisted straight away.
Enrolling in the Royal Field Artillery, Gunner Shrubsall was assigned to the 95th Brigade. Sadly, he had recorded less than six months’ service, as he passed away on 8th January 1915, aged just 21 years old. His brigade did not go to France until the following year, so, while no cause of death is recorded, it is likely that he died from a communicable disease like influenza or pneumonia.
Alfred is buried in the family grave in Deptford, South London.
Within a period of just three years, George had lost all three of his sons to the Great War. Given the previous death of his wife, you can only imagine the heartbreak he was going through.