Hero Discovered

Recently Les Herbert received the following letter:-

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am a family researcher and member of the North West Kent Family History Society.

Albert Christian Havelock

Albert Christian Havelock, died 27 March 1916

I recently obtained a First World War medal trio issued to a Sapper 70910 Albert Christian Havelock. He was born 1895 Brockley, Kent. Son of Charles Havelock of 86 Clonmore Street, Southfields, Wandsworth He was killed in action Mar 27 1916 and is buried at Saint Pol Communal Cemetery Extension, Saint-Polsur-Ternoise, Department du Pas-de-Calais, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France Plot A. 3.

I understand he was a former pupil of Wandsworth School. I have attached a photo of Albert Christian Havelock, which came with the medals. I have also attached some other documentation, which I thought might be of interest to you.

Kind regards

Graham Jansen

In Reply

Les wrote to Graham and confirmed that A.C. Havelock is one of the 99 young former pupils named on our War Memorial. He informed Graham about the history of our memorial and the history behind it. In the note to the historian Les said that Albert was one of many who fell 100 years ago, during 1916. Les also sent him photos of the memorial and information on the unveiling which took place last year. Les asked Graham if he was a relative and if he had managed to contact any living relatives, especially as we have had no success. Rather surprisingly Graham wrote the following reply.

Hi Les,

Thank you so much for your interesting email and attaching the newsletter and photos. I must apologize for the delay in replying. “What an amazing story being able to restore the Memorial to its rightful place and to honour all those former pupils in the way that you have. What an achievement by all those involved”.

I’m not a relative of Albert I’m afraid; I’m merely a family history enthusiast. I’ve recently become very interested in the First World War knowing there are so many research resources available. I bought Albert’s medals at an antiques market in Bromley, Kent, which isn’t too far from where he was born. The medals are individually named as you no doubt already aware unlike WW2 medals.

This makes researching the recipient quite an easy task. The medals came with the photo and documentation regarding the fact he was killed in action. I managed to track down a distant relative of Albert’s via a Genealogy website I use but they could tell me very little about him. They knew he had died during the First World War but that was all.

They’ve provided me with the names of other members of the Havelock family but so far I’ve not carried out any further research. I can’t prove the photo is actually Albert but I have no reason to doubt it’s not him. There are some words handwritten on the back of the photo but nothing to actually identify him. The words merely relate to ‘mum’s brother.’ Getting in contact with you has prompted me to look into this further so I will keep you informed should I discover anything else. You may certainly publish the information in your newsletter. As a member of the North West Kent Family History Society, which covers the Bromley area I intend submitting the story about Albert in the quarterly Journal magazine so if you don’t mind I would very much like to make members aware of your Memorial Trust and the success you’ve had restoring the plaque.

All the best and I will be in touch as soon as I find out anything else about Albert.

Kind regards Graham.

The above medals came as purchased by Graham along with the photo and Commonwealth War Grave references.

After the First World War the three medals were awarded to most of the British servicemen that had served from 1914 or 1915. They were the British War Medal, the British Victory Medal and either the 1914 Star or the 1914-15 Star. They were irreverently referred to as Pip, Squeak and Wilfred and are still so today. Pip, Squeak and Wilfred was a long-running British newspaper strip cartoon published in the Daily Mirror from 1919 to 1956, as well as the Sunday Pictorial in the early years.The medals are engraved with Albert’s name, rank, unit and regimental number.

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