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Albert Paley was born in Worsley, Lancashire (now Manchester) in January 1875. His parents Roger John and Mary Paley were both born in North Yorkshire and moved to Lancashire circa 1870. The 1871 census shows Roger and his son John living in Oldham Market Place, Roger as a tobacconist and John as his shop worker, even though he has a wife and other children at the time.

On the 1881 census Roger, his wife Mary, daughter Lizzie Ann (12), Albert (6) and a young girl by the name of Mary Ann Smart (12) who is named as a servant, are living at Dean Road, Swinton in the Parish of Worsley, Lancashire.

Albert was to lose both his parents, Mary in 1886 then Roger in 1890.  Shortly after their deaths he moved to Preston in Lancashire and was living at number 100 Ashmoor Street which was situated off Adelphi Street. His next door neighbours, the Marlands at number 102 had a daughter Margaret, and on February 15th 1896 Albert and Margaret married in the church of St Thomas on Lancaster Road in Preston.

By the 1901 Census Albert and Margaret are living in the next street, Gordon Street and have 3 children, Sarah Ellen (1897), George (1899) and Albert (1900). Unfortunately both George and baby Albert were to die within the next 12 months, leaving just Sarah Ellen. Albert is now employed as a labourer/ tin worker at a local sheet metal works located in Sizer Street, owned by a Mr T. Reeder. He is to work there for 15 years right up to point when he joins the army.

Over the course of the next ten years Albert and Margaret had another seven children but sadly of those seven only three of them survived infancy. At the next census in 1911 Albert has again moved house to 3 Brougham Street and the family now consisted of Albert, Margaret and their eldest daughter Sarah Ellen and also Margaret (1906), Robert (1908) and Thomas (1909).

At the outbreak of WW1 in 1914 Albert was to answer the call of Lord Kitchener and presented himself at Fulwood Barracks as a volunteer into the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. He was found physically fit with the only comment being, the presence of a mole on the right shoulder, and was attested on the 1st September 1914 and assigned to the 7th (Service) Battalion.

The Battalion was under the command of the 56th Brigade, 19th (Western) Division, and moved to Whitchurch in December 1914. The Battalion sailed from Folkestone to France on 17th July 1915, arriving at Boulogne at 11:00hrs the following day.

In the December quarter of 1915 Albert`s wife Margaret gave birth to another daughter and she named her Elizabeth.

The Battalion was to acquit itself with distinction throughout its time in combat till its disbandment in 1918, receiving battle honours in Ypres, Loos, Somme, Albert, Bazentin, Ancre, Messines, Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Poelcappelle and Passchendaele, However, Albert was not to see any further action beyond the Somme as on the 5th July 1916 at La Boisselle he lost his life in the field acting as a stretcher bearer, sadly joining the ranks of the “no known grave”.

After Margaret received notification of the death of her husband the following announcement was made in the local paper.12462 Private Albert Paley

Unfortunately, due to the circumstances of his death Margaret did not receive any of her late husbands` personal effects.

Margaret was later awarded a war widows pension of 25 shillings a week (£1. 25p in today’s money) for herself and the children.

After the war she also received the three medals due to Albert, 1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal for which she duly acknowledged.

Albert, having no known grave is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, his name appearing on Pier and Face 11A. He is also remembered on the Roll of Honour in the Harris Museum and Library in Preston – the original submission form for his entry on the RoH is shown below.


Rank: Private
Service No: 12462
Date of Death: 05/07/1916
Age: 39
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 7th Bn.

Ron Crowe
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