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Albert Carlill was born in Brough in the East Riding of Yorkshire, his birth being registered in the December quarter of 1899. His parents, William and Charlotte Jane Carlill (nee Ward) married in Brough in 1879 and Albert was the youngest of eight children born to the couple, the others being; William (abt 1880), Mary M. (1881), Francis (1884), Harry (1876), Arthur (1888), Ernest (1891) and Jeanie (1893).

In 1901 Albert and his family lived at 69 Welton Road in Brough where his father worked as a jobbing gardener. His eldest brother William was a postman, Francis a bricklayer`s apprentice and Harry was helping his father as a gardener`s assistant. Albert was living at the same address with his parents in 1911 but only two of his brothers remained at home, Arthur and Ernest and like their father both were employed as domestic gardeners.

Albert went to work for the General Post Office in June 1916, working as a postal clerk at Brough Post Office. He was still at Brough Post Office in April 1917 when he along with another lad, 17 year old Charles Acey both appeared in front of the Magistrates at the East Riding Petty Sessions Court in Hull. They had been charged with stealing some cigarettes from a postal packet and both lads pleaded guilty to the offence;

17th April – Hull Daily Mail

“Mr. Wray (prosecuting for the Post Master) explained that up to 3 or 4 years ago it would have been impossible for the Magistrate to have dealt with the charges summarily, but they would have had to send the defendants for trial at the Assizes, as it was regarded as a serious offence. In consequence of the war, the Post Office was largely in the hands of comparatively young servants, but it was important that employees of the Post Office should be above suspicion and exceptionally honest. In this case, however, it appeared that the youths had yielded to temptation. They were both employed at the Brough Post Office, and the evidence was that they opened a parcel of cigarettes from a Hull tobacconist addressed to Mr. Ingleby of Melton. It was noticed intact by Postmaster Mr. Johnson, Postmaster at Brough, who later noticed that the string around it had been removed and some Post Office string had been substituted. Both defendants had since admitted the offence.

Mr. Johnson, the Postmaster continued….On Acey returning after breakfast, witness asked him if he knew anything about the parcel. Acey at first denied any knowledge, but subsequently he handed to witness cigarettes of the same brand as those in the parcel. On Carlill returning to the Post Office after delivering letters, witness spoke to him about the parcel, he too produced cigarettes of a similar brand. Acey who was 18 years of age, had been employed at Brough Post Office six years, four years as a Messenger Boy, and now he had been passed fit for general service in the Army. Carlill entered the employ of the Post Office last June. He had known both for four years and believed them to have been good characters. Mr. Williamson (defending) pleaded for the youths to be dealt with under the First Offender`s Act. He called the Reverend S.J. Soady (Vicar of Elloughton) who had known both for 13 years. He spoke highly of both of them and suggested that the act was a mad boyish freak, without intention of being dishonest. Mr. Williamson read letters from the Schoolmaster at Brough and Welton, as to the defendant’s previous good character. The Magistrates decided to give them the benefit of the First Offender`s Act and both were put on probation for 12 months”.

In the absence of any service papers it is difficult to know when Albert attested, his Medal Index Card and the Medal Rolls indicate that he served first of all with 9 Northern Cyclist Battalion (Service No. 63762) and then at some point he was sent to France where he joined “B” Coy of 1/4th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.

Albert seems to have been listed as missing in action around the late summer or early autumn of 1918 whilst with the 1/4th Battalion. It later transpired that he had been taken prisoner because his parents received a field postcard from him dated 23rd October 1918, the postcard confirming that he was a prisoner of war and was quite well and that he was `stationed` at Limburg (Germany). The Red Cross also appear to have informed his parents that Albert`s name was on one of the `Frankfurt lists` (a list of men who had been taken prisoner).

However, nothing more was heard from Albert after that date and on the 29th January 1919 his parents posted a plea for any information on his whereabouts in the Hull Daily Mail;

“Mr & Mrs W. Carlill of Brough would be grateful if any repatriated soldier could give them any information about their son Pte. Albert Carlill (31006) of the 1/4th Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, who has not been heard of since October 23rd 1918. A field postcard from him bearing that date said that he was well and a prisoner of war, and then stationed at Limburg. The Red Cross Authorities have informed the parents that his name was on the Frankfurt list”.

Sadly, news finally arrived that Albert was not at Limburg at all but had died a prisoner of war in Belgium just one week before the Armistice on the 4th November 1918 and had been laid to rest by the Germans in Louvain Communal Cemetery, his grave being amongst a number of their own countrymen.

According to the CWGC records a memorial stone was erected for Albert at Cement House Cemetery near Langemark in 1957 because his original grave in Louvain Cemetery had apparently been lost. However, in the mid 1920`s four permanent German Cemeteries had been established in Flanders, one of which was Langemark German Military Cemetery. It then seems that all the remains of the German soldiers in Louvain, all unidentified, were exhumed and reburied in a mass grave in Langemark Cemetery. As Albert had been buried amongst the German soldiers and his grave had in effect been lost his remains were also exhumed and interred with those of the German soldiers in the mass grave at Langemark, many years later a plaque was finally erected to his memory at the site of the mass grave.

Albert is probably one of very few WW1 soldiers to be commemorated in two places on the Western Front, Cement House Cemetery and Langemark German Military Cemetery.

Langemark German Military Cemetery, Photo taken October 2016

Rank: Private
Service No: 31006
Date of Death: 04/11/1918
Age: 19
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, B Coy, 1st/4th Bn.
Cemetery: LANGEMARK GERMAN MILITARY CEMETERY

Janet Davis

Janet Davis

Janet Davis has been researching her family history for many years and through this she discovered many relatives who served in WW1. This interest then led Janet to do many walking the battlefield tours with her husband. In April 2013 she discovered this website and volunteered to help. Janet believes that there are lots of stories still to be told, most of them very sad but at the same time they are a fascinating insight into the men, their families, what they did and where they came from.
Janet Davis

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