Alfred John Gaines

Date of birth: 1891
Place of birth: Hastings
Regiment: South Staffordshire
Battalion: 1st
Rank / Service No: Private, 8797
Died: 7th November 1914, aged 23 years
Commemorated: Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial


It is unclear what Alfred’s connection with Southampton is. It has also been very difficult to find Census and family information, mainly because of the different spellings of the surname.


Alfred was the fourth of 5 known siblings born to James and Agnes Katherine Gaines (nee Taylor), who married in Hastings in 1885.

Both parents were born in Sussex, James in 1854 and Agnes in 1858. Agnes passed away in Hastings in 1900, and James died in the town in 1910.



Thomas J.   b. 1883   d. ??   Not known if James is his father….

William G.   b. 1885 Hastings   d. ??

Reuben George   b. 1889 Hastings   d. 1912 Hastings

Alfred John

Nora Ellen Katherine   b. 1893 Hastings   d. ??



Alfred was with his battalion in Lichfield at the 1911 Census and he is known to have enlisted in Dover.


The 1st South Staffs were in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa at the outbreak of war. They landed in Southampton on 19 September 1914 and came under the orders of the 22nd Brigade in the 7th Division.

The Battalion landed at Zeebrugge on 6 October and the 7th Division were the first infantry troops entrenched in front of Ypres.


Alfred lost his life during the latter stages of the First Battle of Ypres when the Division helped to secure the town before the onset of winter, pushing the German forces back to the Passchendaele Ridge.


All units in the Division suffered grievous losses and it was not until Jan / Feb 1915 that it was anywhere near fighting strength.



Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 27th July 2016


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