Albert Renshaw was born in Pendleton, Lancashire, England in 1886.
The 1911 Census shows that the family lived at 4 Skaife Road, Sale, Cheshire, England. The head of the family was Alfred Bancroft Renshaw aged 59, who was employed as a Day Gardener. His wife Sarah Jane Renshaw aged 57 and their five children – Charles Renshaw aged 33, a Barman, Mary Jane Renshaw aged 27, a Restaurant Waitress, Albert Renshaw aged 25, a Gentleman’s Outfitters Shop Assistant, Nellie Renshaw aged 21 and Edwin Renshaw aged 17, a Pattern Card-makers Apprentice.
On 7 August 1911, Albert married Gertrude Rogers at St Anne’s Parish Church, Sale, Cheshire. They initially lived at 47 Woodthorpe Crescent, Stony Lane, Wellington, Shropshire, but later moved to 2 Abbey Street, Rhyl, Flintshire, North Wales where Albert was employed as a Draper’s Manager. They had three children – Winifred Renshaw, born 1 November 1912, Albert Charles Renshaw, born 28 March 1914 and Clifford Renshaw who was born on 24 December 1917. On Saturday 27 January 1917, Albert who was now 31 years of age enlisted with 2/5th Battalion, Prince of Wales’s North Staffordshire Regiment. On Monday 14 January 1918, he was posted to France on the Western Front and just over a month later was killed in action.
The following letter which was probably the last written by Albert to his wife Gertrude on 2 February 1918. Private A Renshaw 50434. ‘B’ Company 2/6th South Staffs, BEF France.
My Dear Wife and All. You will see by the address above that I have been moved again. I was expecting a letter from you my dear, but I will have to wait until they follow us on to this Regiment now. We never know where we are going to be 2 day’s together now. We are still behind the firing line, a long way as this Regiment is at rest. I trust this letter finds you well dear and our dear baby and all in the very best of health, as I am keeping very well myself. We are still in a country village, sometimes similar to being out at Lightmoor and we are billeted in a barn. I wish I could write and tell you my experiences out here but I dare not, or you would not get the letter, but I will say this much. I ain;t seen much out here in France to fight for, it is not to be compared to the worst part of England that I have seen, and I have seen a good part of it. And now my dear, I trust you are able to buy food alright now, don’t worry about me we get very good food out here, better than blighty, but of course they must feed the troops. I shall be very glad to get back to dear old England and to my home sweet home. It will be like being in heaven to be home again after the life out here. And now dear take notice of the change of address again, I am sure you will put it right as it takes your letters a long time to get through. I trust that you dear and baby are getting quite well and strong by now. I expect that you will be having baby christened, may be today. Let me know who the Godfathers are and also tell me did David stay with you and who did the Clerk stop with. I must draw to a close now, trusting god and bless, guard and keep you all safe, with fondest love to your dear self and to my dear children. Ever more your loving hubby and father, Albert. XXXXXXXXX. Write soon a good long letter.
Albert was killed in action some three weeks later.
22 February 1918 – Dear Mrs Renshaw.
It is with great regret that I have to write this letter to inform you of the death of your husband. He was killed while doing his duty in the fire-step by a German shell. He was only under me for a very short period having been transferred from the North Staffs, but during that little time I realised that he was a man whom I could put my trust and who I miss very much as he was an excellent fellow in the Platoon.
If it is any consolation to you to know he was buries decently and with full honours by the Battalion Padre in the Mory Cemetery. All your husbands personal property was handed to the Orderly Room and will reach you in due course. Please accept my deepest sympathy to you and your family. I remain, yours truly. Stewart Maitland 2nd Lieutenant. Commander No.8 Platoon, B Company.
Gertrude Renshaw received a Widow’s Pension from the War Office of 29 shillings 7 pence per week for herself and her three children, effective from 2 September 1918.
Albert is also remembered on a Remembrance Plaque at The Royal Alexandra Hospital, Marine Drive, Rhyl, Flintshire and on The North Wales Heroes Memorial Arch, Deiniol Road, Bangor, North Wales.