|Date of birth:||3rd July 1893|
|Place of birth:||London, Middlesex|
|Regiment / Division:||Hampshire Regiment|
|Died:||4th June 1915 aged 22 years|
The military service record of Alfred has not survived. We know from the commonwealth war graves records that in WW1 served as a private in the 3rd Battalion Hampshire regiment known as the Tigers. (service number:8860). The 3rd (Reserve) Battalion
Formed in August 1914 in Winchester. A depot/training unit, it remained in UK throughout the war. They moved on mobilisation to Parkhurst on the Isle of Wight and in January 1915 to Gosport for duty with the Portsmouth Garrison.
I believe that Alfred Nelson Chester may have changed battalion to the 2nd at some point based on the fact that he died on 4th June 1915 in Gallipoli, aged 22 and is listed as then being in the 2nd battalion. The 2nd battalion sailed from Avonmouth on 29 March 1915 for Gallipoli, going via Egypt and landed at Cape Helles on 25 April 1915.
The eight month campaign in Gallipoli was fought by Commonwealth and French forces in an attempt to force Turkey out of the war, to relieve the deadlock of the Western Front in France and Belgium, and to open a supply route to Russia through the Dardanelles and the Black Sea.
The climax of the campaign came in early August when simultaneous assaults were launched on all three fronts. However, the difficult terrain and stiff Turkish resistance soon led to the stalemate of trench warfare. From the end of August, no further serious action was fought and the lines remained unchanged. The peninsula was successfully evacuated in December and early January 1916.
Alfred Nelson Chester is listed on the Helles Memorial in Gallipoli. He was posthumously awarded the Victory medal and the British medal in recognition of his services to his country and is inscribed on the cenotaph at Southampton “remembered with honour”. The British War Medal was awarded for service in World War One. Also called the British Empire campaign medal, it was sometimes irreverently referred to as ‘Squeak’. The Victory medal, also called the Inter Allied Victory Medal was awarded to those who received the British War Medal. This medal was sometimes irreverently referred to as ‘Wilfred’.
Life before the war
Alfred Nelson Chester was baptised at Walworth St Peter in Southwark, London on 3rd April 1904 but the vicar noted that he was born 3rd July 1893.
His parents were Alfred and Minnie Chester (maiden name unknown) (born in 1873 in St Helier) of 19 Grosvenor Terrace, London. No marriage was found.
We first find him at home in 12 Albany Road, Peckham, London aged 7 with his widowed mother Minnie, a self employed dressmaker (at home) in 1901. No death could be found for his father Alfred within a suitable time scale. We do not know what brought him to the South coast and led to his enlistment into the British Army at Winchester, where on Monday April 3rd 1911 we find him enumerated with his regiment, the 3rd battalion Hampshire Regiment at Winchester Barracks aged 18.
His mother Minnie Chester had died in 1905 aged 33 in St George, Hanover Square which spans the boundaries of the counties of London and Middlesex. Mrs FC Brownsea, a resident in Australia was notified of Alfred’s death.
Researched by DHW – March 2013
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