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  Albert Killick 

Private G/1275
1st Bn The Queen's (Royal West Surrey) Regiment
Killed in Action 03/11/1916, aged 20

No Known Grave, but Remembered on :
Ewhurst War Memorial,  Memorial Plaque and Book of Remembrance
The Queen's (Royal West Surrey) Regiment Roll of Honour, Holy Trinity Church, Guildford
The Thiepval Memorial to the Missing, the Somme, France



 

 

ALBERT KILLICK was born in Ewhurst in 1896 (1), where he lived in Coneyhurst Farm Cottage with his father, Frederick William Killick, a shoemaker, and mother, Annie Killick. He was the younger brother of Nelly Killick (b1891),  Frederick William Killlick  junior (b1894 )and elder brother of Elizabeth A Killick (b1900).

With the onset of the First World War, Albert enlisted in Cranleigh and attested Stoughton Barracks, Guildford on 31st August 1914 for 3 years service. He became Private 1275 of the 1st Bn The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment. This was the same day as Albert Buck, James Dedman and Harry Kilhams also attested into the Queen’s. He gave his age as 19 years old, whereas it is likely that he was actually 17 or 18 years old (1). The minimum age for enlistment was 18 and it is therefore possible that  Albert might have enlisted under age.

The 1st Battalion Queen’s had arrived in France from its home base of Bordon Camp in August 1914. It remained on the Western Front throughout the First World War.

Albert arrived in France on 17th December 1914, thereby qualifying for the 1915 Star. In a joint letter quoted in the Surrey Advertiser on 17th April 1915 from Private Arthur Gill and Albert and in response to parcels sent to the men by the Ewhurst Women’s Liberal Association, the men stated that: “we are the only Ewhurst chaps together, but we are just as happy as if they were all here.”

He was joined in the 1st Bn Queen's in early 1916 by his elder brother, Frederick, who was killed in action near Loos by a minewerfer on 3rd July 1916. We can only presume as to whether he was near to his brother at the time of his death. On the same day the battalion left the front line to recover prior to its move south to take part in the Battle of the Somme.

At the end of October 1916, the battalion were occupying bivouacs between Bernafay Wood and Trones Wood. On the 30th they were ordered towards the front line near Guillemont. The weather was very poor and the state of the battlefield truly reflected this. Preparatory orders were issued to the effect that on the 3rd November the 1st Queen's would attack a trench known as Baritska Trench. The battalion moved up into its positions at 4.15pm, but the difficult conditions meant that some elements took up to nine hours to reach their positions. The men were forced to stand in trenches with water above their knees, and had to be dug out of the mud after remaining stationary for any time.

Zero hour was set at 4pm on the 3rd, however a preliminary bombardment by French field artillery lifted ten minutes early at 3.50pm. Following what must have been a lengthy pause, the 1st Queen's advanced on time. In spite of the difficult conditions, the battalion advanced well initially, but were then held up by heavy rifle and machine gun fire. Heavy casualties were taken, and the three companies that had taken part in the attack were forced to return to their starting positions.

Private Albert Killick was one of the men who did not return from the battlefield, having been killed in action. His grave was never identified, and as such he is remembered on the The Thiepval Memorial to the Missing.

Albert was posthumously awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. In 2009 a group of 4 medals belonging to the Killick brothers became available for purchase on the internet (Albert's BWM was missing from the collection.) The were purchased with the view that they be retained within the village that the brothers grew up in. The Killick brothers were the first of five sets of brothers from the village to lose their lives in the First World War.

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow this Link to details about First World War Medals
 

 

Notes:
(1) date of birth
     From attestation register, (19 years old on 31/08/14) Aug 1895
     From 1901 census, (4 years old on 31/03/01) Mar 1897 or before.
     From Reg of Births Hambledon Vol2a page 148 (jul/aug/sep 1896)…
The implication is that Albert was actually 17 or 18 years old when he enlisted and 20 when he died. Why were the brothers ages incorrect on enlistment? Was this an unintentional error or had Albert enlisted underage and been compelled to lie about his age, causing his brother to do likewise so as not to expose the lie?

 

 

Other sources:

  • Book of Remembrance

  • Soldiers Died in the Great War

  • 1901 Census

  • History of the Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment) by Col H C Wylly C.B.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

Andrew Bailey, Ewhurst, Surrey
andy@ewhurstfallen.co.uk
Copyright©2005