6 May 2010

ELBOROUGH Alfred Charles Ernest


Captain, 6th Battalion King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Killed in Action on Friday 30th July 1915
Buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Poperinge, Belgium, Grave I.A.6

Alfred Elborough was born in the 4th May 1878 at 2 Shardeloes Road, London, the eldest child of Alfred Louis and Mary Ann Elborough (formerly Eames). By 1901 Mary Ann Elborough was widowed and living at 3 The Terrace, Lancing, with one son and one daughter at home, but Alfred was a bank clerk, living and working in London. Immediately prior to the Great War he was employed by the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, having worked for them in London, Siam [Thailand] and Hong Kong.
He enlisted in the 28th Battalion, County of London Regiment (Artists Rifles) on August 31st 1914, and was commissioned in early December into the 6th Battalion King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, with the rank of temporary 2nd Lieutenant. He gained his Captaincy later that same month, an unusually short time for a man with no previous military experience. In less than four months he had gone from being a city gentleman, to commanding men in a battle situation - barely time enough to learn all he would need to equip himself for war. He went to France in May 1915, and by the end of July the Battalion were in Flanders, at Vlamertinghe. The battalion war diary held at The National Archives [WO95/1906] records the events of July 30th 1915:

4.30 a.m. Message from Brigade ordering us to 'stand to' owing to attack on 41st Infantry Brigade at Hooge.
9 a.m. Men were allowed to turn in but were not allowed to leave camp.
12.30 p.m. Ordered to move up to the redoubt and dug-out at H11.d.7.6.
1 p.m. Left our bivouac and arrived at our destination at 3 p.m. We were informed on the way that 41st Brigade, supported by the 6th Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry and the 42nd Brigade were to make a counter-attack on the lost trenches at 2.45 p.m. The Durham Light Infantry went forward to the ramparts in Ypres.
3 p.m. Just as we were reaching our dug-outs a shell landed in the head of the column just behind the C.O. It killed the C.O.'s second horse and Sergeant, and wounded 11 men. Shortly after having moved into the redoubt, another shell pitched just over the parapet. There being no parados, it unfortunately wounded Capt. A. C. E. Elborough, 2nd Lt. C. E. M. Knapp-Fisher and twelve men. The two officers afterwards died of their wounds - after about 4 p.m. the bombardment quieted.

On August 1st 1915, Mary Ann Elborough received the telegram that all families dreaded - a copy of it survives at The National Archives in Alfred's service record:
Regret to inform you that Capt. A. C. E. Elborough Yorkshire Light Infantry reported No.10 Casualty Clearing Station with shell wounds chest and left leg - serious - it is regretted that permission to visit cannot be granted.

The following day, August 2nd, the second telegram arrived at the house in King's Road:
Deeply regret to inform you that Capt. A. C. E. Elborough, K.O.Y.L.I. died of wounds on 30th July. Lord Kitchener expresses his sympathy.

Alfred Elborough was buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Poperinge, Belgium, and on the 12th August the following obituary appeared in 'The Times':

CAPT. A. C. E. ELBOROUGH, 6th Yorkshire Light Infantry, was the eldest son of the late Mr. Alfred Louis Elborough and Mrs. Mary A. Elborough, of Kingsmead, Lancing-on-Sea, Sussex. He was educated at Blair Lodge School, Scotland, where he was head boy and captain of the cricket and football teams. He entered the service of the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank, serving in London, Siam and Hongkong. Captain Elborough had been at the front for about two months. He was 37 years of age.

A memorial service for Alfred Elborough was held locally at the parish church of St. James the Less on August 16th 1915, together with the unveiling of a brass plaque in his memory. His service record contains a lot of correspondence about his estate, the total value being £1,162. 1s. 5d. Mrs. Elborough was awarded a pension of £100 a year as she was considered financially dependent on her son, who she lived with and was in 'distressed circumstances.'


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