CWG: Private Alfred Wheeler

Private Alfred Wheeler

Alfred Wheeler was born in Binstead, on the Isle of Wight, in the summer of 1886. One of three children, his parents were John, a labourer from the Isle of Wight, and his wife Emily.

When he left school, Alfred found work at the London City Mission in Ventnor. By this point, tragically, both of his parents had passed away, and the young siblings were finding their own ways in life.

The 1911 census found Alfred living with his uncle back in Binstead. His trade was given as a Motor Car Driver for the local Carriage & Motor Works; while he was obviously brought up with a spiritual side, he seems to have had a sense of adventure too.

When war broke out, Alfred was keen to do his bit. He enlisted in the Gloucestershire Regiment and was attached to the 1st Battalion. Sent to France within weeks of the war commencing, Private Wheeler was awarded the Victory and British Medals and the 1914 Star.

With his background with cars, Alfred subsequently transferred over to the Royal Army Service Corps in the 615th Motor Transport Company. While full dates are not readily available, the 615th were formed in January 1916, so it was likely after this that Private Wheeler moved across. The company were based in Dublin, and it was in Ireland that he saw out the remainder of the conflict.

On 11th July 1919, Alfred married Rose England. She was the daughter of an organ tuner from Bristol, although there is no obvious connection to Clevedon for him. It seems likely, therefore, that the couple may have met around through the church, possibly as Private Wheeler was travelling between Ireland and Hampshire.

Alfred wasn’t demobbed as soon as the war ended, remaining part of the Royal Army Service Corps through until 1920. It was while he was in Ireland that he contracted influenza. Admitted to hospital in Dublin, he sadly succumbed to the condition on 23rd April 1920. He was 34 years old.

Alfred Wheeler’s body was brought back to England. He lies buried in St Andrew’s Churchyard in Clevedon, Somerset.

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