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1665 Sergeant Albert Mercer “B” Coy 1-4th BattalionAlbert Mercer was born in Lee Street in Longridge on the 13th August 1894 the son of Arthur and Margaret Ann Mercer (nee Woodacre). He was baptised in the Church of St. Lawrence in Longridge where his parents had married the previous year on the 16th September 1893.

Albert had two brothers; Harry (1899) and Arthur (1909) and one sister; Bertha Alice (1912).

In 1901 Albert, his parents and brother Harry were living at 13 Alston Terrace in Longridge and both of his parents were employed as cotton weavers. By 1911 the family had moved to 31 Whittingham Road in Longridge and Albert had also gone to work as a weaver while his twelve year old brother Harry was a `half-timer` which meant attending school for a half a day before going into the mill to work.

At the age of 17 years and 7 months old Albert enlisted at Longridge for four years with the 4th (TF) Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. Albert was only a small chap standing at just 5`2” tall with a chest measurement of 32 inches. His vision was described as good and his physical development as fair. At the time of his enlistment he was employed by Messrs. George Whittle & Company as a weaver in their cotton mill in Longridge.

Albert attended his annual camps with the Territorials and he obviously impressed his superiors because by the 13th August 1913 he had been promoted to Lance Corporal. Promotion to Corporal came the following year on the 12th June 1914.

After war was declared Albert signed his agreement to serve anywhere outside of the United Kingdom in the event of a national emergency on the 8th August 1914 at Preston.

On the 21st February 1915 Albert was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. He sailed to France on the 4th May 1915 with the 1/4th Battalion as a member of “B” Company. The Battalion had only been in France for a few short weeks when they were ordered to take part in their first major action attacking enemy positions between Rue d`Overt and Chappelle St. Roch during the Battle of Festubert.

Sadly, Albert was one of the many men from the 1/4th Battalion who died during the “great bayonet charge” that took place on the evening of the 15th June 1915 at Festubert. Read more about Festubert here

After the roll call was taken later at Le Touret it is reported that only 243 men answered to their names, the casualties numbered 431 men killed, wounded or missing. After initially being posted as missing Albert`s death was later confirmed.

The Preston Guardian published a short article about Albert in the weeks that followed his death;

News has been received from the War Office of the death in action, on June 15th, of another Longridge Territorial in Sergeant Albert Mercer of the 1/4th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire’s (TF). Sergeant Mercer, who was the son of Arthur Mercer, Whittingham Road, Longridge, had been nearly two years in the Territorials at the outbreak of war. He was two months short of 21 years of age. Lieutenant Gregson commanding deceased`s company, in a letter to deceased`s parents writes; “Your son was killed in the bayonet charge on June 15th, whilst leading his men at the head of his platoon. He was a clever and conscientious boy, very popular with all ranks. The only consolation I can give you is that he gave his life in the greatest cause there is – serving his King and Country”.

In civil life Sergeant Mercer worked as a weaver at Messrs. George Whittle & Co.`s mill at Longridge.

There is no mention in Albert`s papers to indicate whether his family ever received any of his personal possessions after his death.

Albert`s body was never found and recovered from the battlefield and so his name was later inscribed on the Le Touret Memorial to the Missing.

After the war Albert`s mother signed for the 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals that her son was entitled to. She would also have received his Memorial Plaque and Scroll in recognition of his sacrifice for his country.

Sergeant Albert Mercer is also remembered on the Memorial Tablet inside St. Lawrence`s Church in Longridge.

St. Lawrence`s Church in Longridge panel

Rank: Serjeant
Service No: 1665
Date of Death: 15/06/1915
Age: 20
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/4th Bn.

Janet Davis
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One Response to 1665 SJT. A. MERCER. L.N.LAN.R.

  1. Katharine Harris says:

    Albert was an ancestor of mine. Thank you so much!

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