Alan Ladd was born in the summer of 1893, and was one of twins. His parents were plumber and gas fitter George Ladd and his wife Mary Ann, who was a midwife. The couple had eight children altogether, of whom Alan and his twin Arthur were the youngest.
George had been born in Exeter, Devon, and Mary Ann in Somerset, which is where they initially based their family. By 1887, however, they had moved to Berkshire, and were living in Knowl Hill, near Maidenhead, when their youngest four children were born.
The 1911 census found the family living in Dunster, Somerset, where everyone seemed to be bringing in a wage. George and Mary Ann had four of their children living with them, who were employed as an engine driver, grocer, baker’s apprentice and, in Alan’s case, a tailor’s apprentice.
War broke out in 1914, and, in November 1915, Alan enlisted. He joined the Royal Army Service Corps as a Private, and his enlistment papers showed he stood 5ft 5ins (1.65m) tall, and weighed in at 130lbs (59kg). He was stationed at the Corps’ Remount Department in Swaythling, Southampton and thus his military service was completed on the Home Front.
Shortly after enlisting, on 16th April 1916, Alan married Ada Westlake. She lived in the village of Long Sutton, near Langport in Somerset, and the couple married at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Somerton. They do not appear to have gone on to have any children.
Further details of Private Ladd’s life are scant. What can be determined is that he was admitted to Netley Hospital in Southampton on 11th October 1918, having had symptoms of pneumonia for a few days. Sadly, his condition worsened, and Alan passed away just three days later, on 14th October 1918. He was just 25 years of age.
Alan Ladd was brought back to Long Sutton for burial. The war may have led him and Ada to adopt more of a Quaker way of life, as he lies at rest in the Friends Burial Ground on the outskirts of the town.