Alfred Charles Perring was born in Edmonton, UK in early 1894. Like his brother, Edmund Alfred, he was my first cousin, 4 times removed on my maternal grandmother’s side. Where his brother’s service began with conscription and was drawn out over several years, Alfred was an early recruit and his service was brief: he died in June 1915 of wounds. I am beginning this post with his death rather than the story of his service because his personnel file is “burnt.” It is one of the 60% of WW1 personnel files that were destroyed in the 1940 bombings on London.
From the medal rolls, listings of war dead, and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) records, we know the date of his death, the unit with which he served, and where he was buried. We are left to piece together and fill in the rest from regimental diaries and general histories of the war. Unless there are personal family records existing that I do not have, there is very little in the way of record left for this very young man who died at the age of 21.
Assuming he enlisted in late 1914, as a member of the 1st Battalion of the Welch Regiment which was (part of the 28th Division), he would have sailed for France in January 1915 and made his way with the regiment to Belgium. This Division took part in the Second Battle of Ypres in the spring of 1915, a month-long, deadly battle during which the German forces used poison gas for the first time.
Whether he was wounded as part of this battle and later died of wounds or was wounded in one of the myriad of other ways that a person could be fatally hurt in the month that followed second Ypres is unclear. But thanks to the meticulous records of the CWGC, we do know that he was buried in Etaples Military Cemetery.
I am honoured to share the CWGC commemorative certificate for my cousin here.