CWG: Private Alfred Lewis

Private Alfred Lewis

There are some people whose stories just don’t want to be unearthed. It’s rare, but occasionally the brick walls come up and you just can’t find a crack through them.

Private A Lewis seems to be one of those people.

The gravestone is in Woodlands Cemetery in Gillingham, Kent. The inscription reads:

G/39918 Private

A Lewis

Middlesex Regiment

11th April 1919

Military records for the service number are scarce, which is not unusual, but unearth two things. Private Lewis’ first name was Alfred, and he was married to a woman called Amelia.

Further research leads to his wife’s full maiden name, Amelia Florence May Courtney, and that she was the daughter of a draper’s assistant, born in London. The couple married in December 1909.

Frustratingly at this point, the trail goes cold. There is a record for an Alfred and Millie Lewis living in Gillingham in the 1911 census, but I am not convinced that they are the same couple.

Alfred Lewis is too common a name to be able to pinpoint any life before his marriage with any certainty, particularly as their marriage record does not give his parents’ names.

All I can say is that Alfred Lewis enlisted in the Middlesex Regiment, although there is no confirmation of when he enrolled. He gained both the Victory and British Medals, but there is nothing to confirm whether he service abroad or part of a territorial force.

Alfred was admitted to the War Hospital in Whitchurch, which was a psychiatric hospital to the north of Cardiff. He was recorded as suffering from paralysis, though whether this was the result of a physical or mental trauma is not clear.

Sadly, Private Lewis passed away on 11th April 1919; his age is unknown. He lies at rest in the Woodlands Cemetery in Gillingham.

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