L/Cpl. Alfred Gould
Killed in Action 1 June 1917
Alfred, the youngest of Jane Gould’s sons, was born on 15 September 1894. His baptism at St Michael’s was on 10 October. He then appears at the 1901 census, aged 6. By 1911, he was 16, living at home and working as a shop assistant to a local grocer.
We do not know when he enlisted, but he was a Private in the 7th Battalion, Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment. His medal card confirms his Regimental number, G12329, but not the date when he first travelled for active front line service. It would not have been until mid-1916 at the earliest, which suggests that he was conscripted. By the time of his death he had been promoted to Lance Corporal, so he would have gained seniority in his Section in his Company.
In January 1917, the battalion was undertaking training at Lamotte and Bedauville and received a draft of 192 NCOs and men on the 22nd. One of those wrote: “One thing I can be thankful for, and that is that we have joined a smart battalion; I guess it is one of the smartest in the British Army”. In mid February it was in the front line at St Pierre Divion for an attack on an enemy strongpoint. It then was rested in training areas near Bethune.
At the start of May 1917 the Battalion was undertaking front-line duty at Cherisy (S E of Arras) and was involved in an unsuccessful Brigade attack, losing 160 men. After its ill-starred ventures at Cherisy, the 7th had soon returned to the trenches, having had barely ten days for rest. The sector it took over was not far from the scene of its misfortunes of May 3rd, being between Charisy and Fontaine les Croisilles. It had an active time, beating off one raid which had just reached the trenches and nipping another in the bud by opening fire on the Germans as they were leaving their trenches.
On the night of May 31st more serious fighting was started by the capture of a couple of advanced German posts. The attack was made by two parties, that on the right consisting of two platoons of C Company, supported by one of A, the left attack of another platoon of C and a section of D. Both got in successfully, and quickly secured their objectives, driving out the surviving Germans, who bolted, leaving over 20 dead behind. Consolidation was promptly begun, and by next morning the new position, known as Horseshoe Post, had been satisfactorily dug and wired and a communication trench running back from our old line was well advanced.
L/Cpl Alfred Gould was probably killed during or shortly after this attack. He is buried at Wancourt British Cemetery, Plot V.D.24. He was 22 years old and unmarried. His elder brothers, Jack Gould and George Gould also died during the war.