Alfred Victor Lewington

Date of birth: 1896
Place of birth: Southampton
Service No.: 23176
Rank: Private
Regiment / Division: Wiltshire
Battalion: 5th
Died: 26th April 1917 aged 21 years
Death location: Amara, Iraq

 

Life before the War
Alfred was the fourth of 6 siblings born to Alfred Walter and Mary Louisa Lewington, who lived at 23 Cedar Road, St Mary’s.  Records show the family as living at 11 Padwell Road in 1917.

Alfred’s 5 siblings were:

Eva Mary   b. 1888   d. 1971 in Winchester (married 3 times, twice after husband’s death).

Charles Henry   b. 1891  d. 1899, aged 8 years

Bertram George  b.1893  d. 3 May 1917 at the Battle of Messines.

Walter Ernest   b. 1899   d. 1952, aged 53, in Southampton (married Winifred Louisa Fox in 1925).  Their daughter Mary W was born in 1926 and their son John W born and died Dec 1929.

Isabel Margaret  b. 1903  d. 1971, aged 68 (married Alfred E. Reeve in 1931)

War Service
There is no recorded reason why Alfred did not follow his brother Bertram into the Hampshires, the family was definitely Southampton based.

Alfred’s regiment was amalgamated into the 13th (Western) Division in early 1915.  The Division embarked at Avonmouth on 1st July 1915, destined for Gallipoli.  On 4th August they disembarked at ANZAC cove and were propelled directly into various actions against the Turkish Army.

In January 1916 the Wiltshires, amongst others, were evacuated to Egypt.  This was simply because of the number of casualties suffered through combat, disease or the harsh weather.

After a month in Egypt the Division was deployed to Mesopotamia (Iraq) where further actions against the Turks were ongoing.  Almost immediately the Battle of Kut Al Amara commenced.  On 29th April 1916 one of the British army’s worst humiliations took place when 11800 British and Indian troops were forced to surrender to the Turks at Kut.  Changes in the British army leadership ensued and the area was recaptured in February 1917.  Such progress was made that Baghdad was captured the following month.  The Division then carried on pushing northwards towards Mosul with only light resistance from the enemy.

It is probable that Alfred lost his life during the “mopping up” around the town of Amara, although there was much heavy fighting around Baghdad at the end of April 1917.

Interestingly, Bertram died on exactly the same day as his second cousin Neville, with Alfred dying 1 week earlier.

 

AVL-cemetry-plan

Alfred was one of 4621 burials in Amara War Cemetery, 925 of which are unidentiifed.  All the original headstones were removed in 1933 because salts in the soil were causing deterioration.

The headstones were replaced by a screen wall, with the names of the dead engraved upon it. Unfortunately this wall has been vandalised over the years.

The cemetery suffered during the Gulf War but, thanks to the efforts of one local man (see newspaper article) it was not completely ruined and a complete set of replacement headstones was discovered in a warehouse after the war.

 The CWGC has it mind to complete renovations of the graveyard as soon as discussions with the Iraqi government are finalised.

 In April 2003 an item appeared on the BBC News Channel about the discovery of the Amara War Cemetery which had been ‘lost’ for some years. Select this link to read the article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/2958143.stm. If you are not able to access this article please write to us in the Comments section below and we will send you a copy.

 

 

Alfred is related to three other Lewingtons named on the Cenotaph and Memorial Wall and also memorialised at Southampton Old Cemetery – Bertram George was his brother, William Arthur was a cousin, whilst Neville Frank was a second cousin – they all shared the same great-grandfather.  Please select the names of Bertram, William and Neville to read their stories.

 

Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published.: 22nd September 2014
Updated: Insert dates here

If you have any additional information about the person named above please complete the Comments section below.

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