CWG: Gunner Albert Lloyd

Gunner Albert Lloyd

Albert Edward Prankard Lloyd was born in Somerset on 25th September 1893, in the Somerset village of Kewstoke (now a suburb of Weston-super-Mare). He was one of eight children to Jabez and Charity Lloyd. Jabez was initially a mason, but later went on to find work as a miner in South Wales. Charity worked as a laundress to help bring in extra money.

When Albert left school, he found employment as a labourer, remaining at home with Charity, with Jabez working away, and three of his sisters working as housemaids or laundresses. By 1911, however, he had moved to Wales with his father to work as a miner; steady employment that brought in a little more money because of the risks involved.

War, however, was on the horizon, and Albert enlisted before hostilities broke out. Joining up on 12th January 1914, his military records show him as standing 5ft 7ins (1.7m) tall and weighing in at 166lbs (75.3kg). He joined the Royal Garrison Artillery and, over the next five years, served three tours of duty in France, totalling just over three years on the Western Front.

Gunner Lloyd’s military service was not without incident, however. In November 1914 he was admitted to hospital for a week, suffering from shock. In April 1917, a shell exploded close to him and he was again found to be suffering from shock. His records note that, following the injury, he had had suicidal thoughts, and wished he was dead.

Just a month later, back on the battlefield, Albert received a gunshot wound to his right thigh. Nine months later, he was admitted to the Hermitage General Hospital in Higham, Kent for three weeks. (The ailment is a mystery, with just the term SCT Toe to identify it.)

When the Armistice came, Gunner Lloyd remained in France, finally returning home on 13th January 1919 ready to be demobbed. While not clear in his records, it seems that the initial ‘shock’ he had suffered from in 1914 had continued throughout the war.

One of the last comments on Albert’s service records is stark. “Found dead on Great Western Railway near Weston-super-Mare. 25.01.19“. Frustratingly, there is no other documentary evidence to expand on this curt phrase, no contemporary newspapers seem to have reported on the event, and nothing more than a scribbled police report was provided for the inquest (again, of which nothing remains).

It seems that the effects of five years of conflict proved too much for Gunner Lloyd; he committed suicide at the age of just 25 years old.

Albert Edward Prankard Lloyd lies at peace at last in the Milton Cemetery in his home town of Weston-super-Mare.


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