Alfred Sidney Beckett
Fathers Nm; Thomas Roberts Beckett born abt 1856 died 1927 buried 15 Nov 1927
Mothers Nm: Emily Cox abt 1859 North Marston, Bucks died 1908 Cublington
Marriage Dt: 1922 Aylesbury District to Georgina C Blencowe
Spouse comments: Georgina Caroline Blencowe  born 1894 Aylesbury -died March 1971 Aylesbury
Children: Hector G Thomas Beckett born JUN 1930 Cublington Buckinghamshire
died 24 DECEMBER 2009 Cublington,
Born 15 August 1895 Cublington
1901 Census Dickem Lane, Cublington
- Thomas Beckett Head Married Male 45 1856 Stockman On Farm
- Emily Beckett Wife Married Female 42 1859 – North Marston
- William Beckett Son Single Male 19 1882 Horseman On Farm
- Arthur Beckett Son Single Male 16 1885 Assistant Gardener (Domestic)
- Francis Beckett Son – Male 13 1888 Farm Yard Boy
- Agnes Beckett Daughter – Female 11 1890 – Cublington
- Alfred Beckett Son – Male 5 1896
- Elizabeth Beckett Daughter – Female 0 1901
1911 census Cublington
- Thomas Beckett Head Widower Male Farm Labourer 55 1856
- Francis Beckett Son Single Male Farm Labourer 23 1888
- Agnes Beckett Daughter Single Female Housekeeper For Father 21 1890
- Alfred Beckett Son Single Male Farm Laborer 15 1896
- Elizabeth Beckett Daughter – Male School 10 1901
Oxford and Bucks L.I.
Machine Gun Corps
Beckett Alfred, 1895, Cublington, Private, 2269, 23934, 1/4th Bn. “A’ Coy. Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry and 145th Bde Machine Gun Corps.
Note Alfred was one serial number higher than Albert Blencowe, 1895 and given we have records that he was with the OBLI. and also a record that shows he disembarked 30th March 1915 in France (the same day) as Albert we can guess that he most likely joined the 1/4th Bn. OBLI.
Aug. Based on the regimental number he enlisted August 1914.
15th May. Assumption; About this time was taken on strength of 1/4th OBLI Regt. which became part of the 145thBrigade in 48th (South Midland) Division.
29th Mar. Alfred entered the theatre of war in France.
30th March. Battalion arrived in Boulogne. From war diary “At 11.15 a.m. marched to Pont de Briques Station and entrained for St. Omer at 1.15. pm. detrained at Cassel at 6.50 p.m. Our transport was on the same train, having come from Havre, where they had disembarked. Marched from Cassel toSteenvoorde (6 ½ miles), and billeted late at night in scattered farms.”
Apr. to Jun. Billeted in Ploegsteert, Belgium..
Jul. to Jul. 1916. Hebuterne Area.
1 Jul. The Battle for the Somme. VIII Corps (Lieutenant-General A G Hunter-Weston). Attack on Beaumont Hamel and Serre. The Battalion and most of its Division the 48th was to be in Corps Reserve at “Busles Artois. 7
On 5th Jul. Graham Greenwell of 1/4th Oxford and Bucks wrote home from G Sector at Hébuterne: “Here we are again, back in the trenches, or rather canals, as the water is over our knees”. He was to be there until the 8th of July.
“Yesterday afternoon I had a good look at the battlefield of 1st July through the telescope at a splendid observation post. It was a very interesting sight; it lay just to the right of us; the whole plain sloping up to the village called Serre held by the Germans was visible. Our troops attacked it after 6 days’ bombardment, and after getting into the village were driven back to their original trenches. Heaps of bodies are still lying out there unburied, but the Germans and our-selves have been sending out stretcher parties each night. The three lines of German trenches in front of the village are absolutely shattered and are almost levelled; their thick wire is absolutely wrecked, but their machine guns did appalling damage in spite of everything. The village is one mass of ruins with a few gaunt trees standing up before the battle it was thickly wooded and almost invisible. Far to the right, I could see our guns shelling a large German railway centre behind the line – good sight”. 4
14 -17 Jul. The Battle of Bazentin Ridge. in which the Division captured Ovillers.
- 23 Jul. Pozieres.The Battalion attacked just east of Pozieres. A Company on the left, D on the right, B in support, C in reserve. The objective on the left was reached almost at once; that on the right after a hard struggle. At least two counter-attacks had to be repulsed. At 4 a.m. we were reinforced by two companies of the 4th-Berks. Heavy shelling all day, but no further attacks were delivered. In the afternoon it became evident that the Battalion had suffered heavily, and at night we were relieved. Officers; 1 missing, believed killed; 1 killed and 8 wounded. Other ranks;73 killed, many wounded.3
12 Aug. The British forces advance on a 1-mile front north-west of Pozières.
13 Aug. Battle for Pozieres. This map shows how many Blencowes were to take part in the Battle around Pozieres. In Alfred’s battalion were Albert Blencowe, Alfred Blencowe who was mortally wounded and Arthur H Blencowe, all were here in Skyline and Ration Trench on that day. Ten days later Australian Fred Blencowe21st Bn. AIF was wounded in the same spot. Diary says “Very heavy shelling over the whole area all day, more especially on Skyline and Ration Trenches. By the evening Skyline Trench had been obliterated, and C and D Companies had suffered heavy casualties, some, no doubt, caused by our own Heavies firing short…. About 9 p.m. enemy shelling became intense around Battalion H.Q……Shortly before 10 p.m. the enemy attacked our front and left flank with apparently two battalions. Our centre, which was weakly held, was pierced.”5
14 Aug. Owing to the length of the line occupied and the casualties already sustained, no further counter-attack by the Battalion was practicable. The Casualties in the Battalion during the 13th and 14th August were: 1 Officer missing; 5 Officers wounded, and 147 N.C.O.’s and OR’s killed, wounded, and missing.5
- 13 Sept. Transferred to 145th Brigade Machine Gun Corps which was part of the same Brigade as 1/4th OBLI and also in the 48th Division. A period of training with the machine guns would have been given whether this was in England or in France is not known.
War diary of the 1/4th Bn. OBLI gives positions of the 145th MGC thus these records below are from 1/4th WD.
- 16-17th Aug. Battle for Ypres.
- May -Jun. Hermies & Demicourt. 25th-31st May moved to Demicourt and Beaumetz, and on the 29th went into the trenches. 6
- From 1/4th WD; The Battalion went into the front line again on the 1st Mar., and continued in and out of the trenches until the 20th. Carried out a successful raid at La Maisonette on the 17th. On the 20th the Battalion marched from Cappy to Peronne and thence moved gradually forward in pursuit of the Germans to Tincourt and Marquaix. During this month 3 men were killed in the 145th MGC as per CWGC.
- Mar-Apr. La Maisonette, Peronne – Ronssoy. Note: The 145th MGC very likely involved in the pursuit of the Germans in the spring of 1917 as they retreated to the Hindenburg line. From the History of the Territorial Battalion in WW1 by J Stirling.
The despatch of 31st May, 1917, as to the German Retreat, paragraph 13 (Dent's edition), states: " At 7 a.m on the i8th March our troops (48th Division, Major-General R. Fanshawe) entered Peronne and occupied Mont St. Quentin, north of the town." Paragraph 16 shows that the Division " after fight- ing of some importance " on 4th and 5th April took part in the capture of Ronssoy and other villages. At this time the Division formed part of the XV. Corps, Fourth Army. In the History of the Fourth Army by Major-General Sir A. Montgomery (Hodder and Stoughton) at page 93, the Advance to Peronne, on 29th August, 1918, there is a note which says that the whole ground was familiar to the Fourth Army as they had crossed it in the early spring of 19 17. " The first troops to reach the eastern bank on that occasion had been those of the 48th Division. They had secured Biaches and La Maisonette and then, forcing a crossing where the embankment of the Canal du Nord crossed the Somme south-west of Halle, had seized Mont St. Quentin."
- Feb. La Maisonette. On the 7th Feb. the Bn. went into the trenches near Herbicourt and remained in the front line until the 13th , having 6 men wounded. From the 13th to 17th in support position furnishing working parties, carrying parties, and patrols; 1 Officer and one man were killed, and 8 men wounded. On the 25th Feb. in the front line opposite La Maisonette, where the Battalion remained three days, losing 2nd Lieut. W. H. Fleeming and 5 OR’s wounded. 6
- At 04:00 hrs. all battalion companies reported in position west of Steenbeek. At 04:45 hrs. the attack started and little opposition until they were east of the Steenbeek when firing from Maison du Hibou caused the Bn. to halt. Two tanks. supposed to help in attacking strong points because of the wet ground didn’t appear. The battalion was held up because of the German posts or forts at Maison du Hibou, Hillock Farm, Jew Hill, and Border House and further back other supporting posts, Triangle Farm, Vancouver, Springfield and Winnipeg. Those posts which supported each other by machine-gun fire, and had effectively stopped the attack.
- The 1/4th Bn. suffered heavy casualties 5 officers and 60 OR’s killed, 5 Officers and 100 OR’s wounded and 4 OR’s missing.6 The 145th MGC suffered 5 men killed as per the CWGC records.
- 21 Nov. Alfred and the whole of the 48th Division entrained for Italy.
- Troops travelling to Italy would have had many hours inside railway goods wagons. The journey from Ypres in Belgium taking several days to complete. But the troops were effectively getting a holiday from the rigours of the western front. Reached Modane Italy on the 25th Nov at 09:00 hrs.; through Mt. Cenis tunnel at midday, and halted at Turin 18:00-20:00 hrs., and had an enthusiastic reception from the Italian inhabitants.5
Note: 145th renamed and moved to 48th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps 22 March 1918. Movements again in 1918 approximated by 1/4th Bn. WD.
- May. S. Sisto -Asiago Plateau, 1st -13th the Bn. continued in the front line or support during this period, without suffering casualties. May 14th-15th On this night Lieut. H. Miles, M.C., took out a patrol of 30 men to raid an enemy post. On encountering the post of 8 to 12 men, the enemy fired and ran. Our men followed, killing 3 and capturing a fourth. Lieut. Miles was severely wounded and brought back with difficulty. The casualties during May were: 2 OR’s killed, 1 officer and 9 OR’s wounded.6
- 15th Jun. Canove. At 3 a.m. the enemy (Austrians) put down a barrage of gas shells on our front and reserve lines and simultaneously bombarded with T.M.’s, M.G.’s, and Flammenwerfer for some three hours. Undercover of this shelling, the enemy came over and penetrated a portion of our line, and our right front was forced back at 4.30 a.m. Casualties 6 Officers and 45 OR’s killed.
- 30th Oct.Asiago
- 1 -4 Nov, The March into Austria. The 1/4th OBLI remained at Caldonazzo until the 9th Nov.
- Alfred was discharged on his return home.
Somme 1916 Gerald Gliddon.
Extracted From The Regimental Chronicles of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. Compiled by Steve Berridge.
Slaughter on the Somme by John Grehan, Martin Mace.
- Bucks Battalion Casualty Books
Awarded the 1914-15 Star the British and Victory medals.
Alfred may well have been wounded in the war note that in 1939 he is categorised as Butchers Assistant incapacitated.
After the War
1939 Census Cottage West End, Wing R.D., Buckinghamshire, England
Georgina S Beckett 17 Jul 1894 Female Unpaid Domestic Duti es Married
Alfred S Beckett 15 Aug 1895 Male Butchers Assistant Incapacitated Married
Death 1955 age 59 yrs
Aylesbury RD Volume 6A, Page 310
Note: there are 3 service records for this man that exist that are not shown in this gallery for copyright reasons.
Four Photos from Family Gallery at Nigel Bowles – Ancestry members tree