Alfred was born in 1898 in Manchester. He appears on the 1911 census as a schoolboy aged 12 and is listed as the Nephew of Peter Alfred Croft and his wife of 14 years, Eliza ( nee Shuttleworth). They were living in Broughton, Flintshire. Peter Croft was head of the household, 50, a Joiner who had been born in Broughton. Eliza Croft his wife was 46 and had been born in Manley, Cheshire. Their son Percy was 13.
I found a birth of an Alfred Beeby in the December Qtr of 1898 Manchester ( Volume 8d, Page 268), but would need to buy the certificate to find out Alfred’s parents.
Alfred’s only named relative on his army records was Elizabeth Beeby who was named as his sister and next of kin. In the 1911 census she was a 17 year old domestic servant at the home of Benjamin Pickering and his family. He was an Estate and Insurance Agent. Elizabeth’s place of birth was recorded as Broughton, Flint. She was five years older than her brother Alfred.
UK Soldiers who Died in The Great War 1914-19 accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk confirms the regimental details above and adds that he enlisted in Chester. His medal card also accessible on ‘ancestry’ details his medals and confirms all the regimental numbers above. Both these sources tell us he was killed in action.
There is an index card for Alfred in The Flintshire Roll of Honour at The County Record Office in Hawarden which was signed on the 14th January 1920 by Alfred Croft. (Presumably a member of the Croft family see 1911 census details above).
Alfred’s Army Service Records have survived and are accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk His Attestation papers were completed on the 2nd September 1916 when he was just 17 years and 359 days old. His occupation was a ‘labourer’ at John Summers iron works. He spent the next few months in the army reserve and was eventually appointed to the Royal Welsh Fusiliers on the 22nd June 1917. He joined the Expeditionary Force in France on the 10th January 1918. he was killed in action 9 months later.
He caused the army a bit of bother at one point when he was ‘Confined to Barracks for 3 days for being absent for 1 day and 2 hours longer than he should have been.(Detailed on Conduct Sheet)
There is correspondence between the army and Elizabeth Beeby of Rose Cottage, Broughton concerning the receipt of his medals, commemorative scroll and plaque and poignantly his personal possessions. They were listed as follows;
Metal watch and strap (glass broken), 2 wallets, notebook, 2 coins, purse, 2 religious books, mirror, diary, photos, letters, cards, pencil and a ‘Total Abstinence Pledge’.
Newspaper Cutting from the County Herald 13th December 1918 (Page 3 Col. 5) :-
Deaths of Soldiers – Mrs. Isaac, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. John Catherall, Cambrian Villa, has received the sad news that her husband, Sergeant Major G.W. Isaac*, has died in France from the effects of influenza. The deceased soldier was called up on the 4th August 1914. Much sympathy is felt with Mrs. Isaac in her sorrow – An official communication has reached Mrs. Croft, of Rose Cottage, Broughton, informing her of the death of her grandson, Alfred Beeby, who fell in action on October 24th. The deceased was a bright and intelligent youth, aged twenty. He was a scholar at the Primitive Methodist School, and was respected by all. He is the first boy in the village who has lost his life in the war, though some have bee wounded, others are missing, and a few have been taken prisoners of war. The other story was about Sergeant-Major George Willacy Isaac who died of Broncho-pneumonia. He is not on any local memorial, a native of Liverpool, but married to Isabel Catherall from Cambrian Villa, Buckley in 1914 and although he is remembered in Toxteth, he should be remembered somewhere here.
*Read his story by clicking the link, he is remembered on the Buckley Memorial.
Alfred Beeby is also remembered on the Broughton War Memorial