Son of Edward and Ann Frost of Barrow, Suffolk.
Albert was born at Barrow, Suffolk in 1893 to parents Edward Harry Frost,
occupation, a Farm Labourer, and Ann (Anne) Frost, a Sewing Machinist, the 1901 Census recording the family as residing at
premises located at Barrow Green. It is unclear at present Albert's 'link' to Wetherby as the 1911 Census details
record him still residing at the above address, occupation being recorded as that of a Domestic Groom. At present, no link
can be ascertained as to how or why Albert found himself relocating to Wetherby.
Recruitment & Attestation
Albert attested for service at Wetherby Town Hall on or about the 31st August 1914. The terms of enlistment were
a Short Service obligation, i.e. three years with the Colours however it was stated that if the War lasted longer than three
years, the recruit would be retained until the cessation of hostilities. As the men waited to enlist, Army protocol dictated
had the prospective recruit received Notice and understood its meaning and who gave the Notice to them. On confirmation by
the potential recruit Army Form B. 2065 was first signed by Rowland Meyrick, the issuer of the Notice before recruitment could
commence. The latter had proved to be very brisk, principally due to the efforts of a number of individuals, but it was Mr.
Rowland Meyrick of Hall Orchards, a Land Agent for the Montague estates, that was the major protagonist encouraging many a
young Wetherby man to "take the King's shilling." A newspaper article dated September 1914 provides an insight
as to his activities as an unpaid Recruitment Officer:
"Day and night he worked with the greatest enthusiasm and wherever young men were, in the cottage, in the
harvest field and street, there he was to be found, exercising his persuasive powers and the young men answered nobly to his
Some men at first however, had their reservations on joining the Colours;
One young fellow, anxious to enlist,
was troubled about throwing up his work and he went to Mr. Meyrick. Would he guarantee him work when he returned home? The
answer was thoroughly satisfactory, and the young fellow is probably now clad in khaki. That is the way to get recruits."
Concerns prior to enlistment were also raised for the
soldiers dependants, therefore, Wetherby Steeplechase Committee made the following offer to both stimulate and encourage recruitment.
A further newspaper article dated September 1914 declared:
"The Wetherby Steeplechase Committee have announced that they will give 1
shilling a week each to the wives of men who have joined the Colours, and any others volunteering in the town, in order to
augment the Army allowance while they are on service."
Agreeing that he now understood the terms of his engagement, Albert now declared
that all his answers to questions declared on the Army Form were true and that he was willing to fulfill the engagements made.
On signing the document, it was witnessed by John McEvitt, a former soldier who had served with the 1st Battalion, Connaught
Rangers and a veteran of the Boer War. Former Colour Sergeant McEvitt in civilian life, was the Caretaker of the Conservative
Club located in the Market Place, who, although recorded in the 1911 Census as an Army Pensioner, fulfilled the roll of Acting
A preliminary medical examination was now conducted by Lieutenant Harry Winstanley Shadwell of
the Royal Army Medical Corps to determine vital statistics; height, weight, vision and expansion of the chest. Deemed 'fit'
as the vast majority of men were at this early stage of enlistment, the final signature that would approve the man for military
service was that of the Approving Officer, 14th Recruiting Area, Colonel Harold P. Ditmas, late Durham Royal Garrison Artillery
(Militia).That final signature would witness over forty-five recruits from the locality joining the ranks of the fledgeling
9th (Service) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment, the first service battalion of the Regiment to be raised as a response to
the outbreak of the Great War.
In the first week of September, the men prior to leaving for the Regimental Depot located
at York, were entertained to a dinner by the townsfolk of Wetherby. After the event and bidding their farewells, the men of
'Kitchener's Army' were conveyed to York in a fleet of motor-cars amidst, what was described as "much
scenes of jubilation and enthusiasm." Of the men, many would never return.
Formation Of The Battalion
The 9th (Service) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment was formed at York on the 25th August 1914 and designated a
K1 Battalion as formed under Lord Kitchener's first 'Call to Arms,' an appeal for 100,000 men to join
the Army for 3 years or for the duration of the War between the ages of 19 and 30 years. The Battalion was contained in the
11th (Northern) Division, a New Army Division which was formed under Army Order No. 324, published on the 21st August, 1914.
This order approved of the addition to the Army of six divisions, the 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th respectively.
The 9th (Service) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment, Officer
Commanding, Lieutenant-Colonel George Frend (attached from the 3rd Battalion, West Yorkshire's), were contained in the
32nd Infantry Brigade that also comprised of the following units:
6th (Service) Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards)
(Service) Battalion, Yorks & Lancs Regiment
8th (Service) Battalion,
West Riding Regiment (Duke of Wellington's)
Commander Brigadier-General Henry Haggard
Commander Major-General Frederick Hammersley C.B.
Basic training ensued for the recruits
from Wetherby at the Regimental Depot where they became accustomed to the vagaries of life in the British Army. Possibly the
first blow to patriotic 'fervour' was the issuing of a Serial Number to each man, an individual in civilian life but
now a number throughout his service in the Army. It is of interest to note that the numbers issued to the recruits from Wetherby
follow no alphabetical sequence as is sometimes the case. An analysis therefore conducted on this specific batch of numbers
issued reveals the number issued proceeding Albert is unfortunately not traceable, however the number following on, 11791,
was allocated to one Alfred Warrener. Alfred, born at Kirkham Abbey, enlisted at Wetherby on the 31st August 1914, his father
residing at Stutton, near Tadcaster. Warrener would be discharged in October 1914 due to circumstances described in the course
of this commemoration.
York at this juncture
with the Depot processing more men that had answered the 'Call to Arms' was now fit to bursting point with men. Therefore
a move to larger training facilities at Belton Park, Grantham, was initiated in September by the 9th West Yorkshire's
where they were joined by the remainder of the Brigade.
this movement, a second medical examination, more thorough than the Primary Military Examination that had taken place on Attestation
was carried out in mid October. Many men from Wetherby were discharged due to either being found medically unfit with ailments
ranging from chronic bronchitis to a hernia, or, a lack of general ability. These men in Army 'parlance' were "Discharged
not being likely to become an efficient soldier," their departure being confirmed by the Adjutant, Captain Alexander
An analysis of Army Pension Records reveal
that of the men who had enlisted at Wetherby Town Hall in August, 6 were medically discharged who had a direct link to the
town in addition to one man from Kirk Deighton. Some of these discharged men would eventually serve in some military capacity
as the War progressed.
of 1914 and the spring of 1915 were most notably wet resulting in the camp at Belton turning into a veritable quagmire. By
the end of February, all ranks had been issued 1914 Pattern Equipment, made under contract in the United States and despite
the weather, training proceeded apace with the usual programme of musketry drills, marching discipline etc. By late March
orders had been issued warning of an impending move away from Lincolnshire. On the 5th April 1915, the 9th West Yorkshire's
in Brigade were ordered to entrain at Rugby, the destination being Witley Camp, near Godalming, Surrey. Leaving Belton Park
on this date, the Brigade proceeded by route of march via Scalford, Thrussington and Whetstone reaching Rugby on the 8th.
Here the Brigade entrained during the following day after an eventful march. An account of this may be found in the Green
Howards In The Great War by H.C. Wylly. 'The Optimist' as he is referred to in the account writes:
"Our march on Wednesday took us through Leicester where the Division was
accorded a really wonderful reception; all work was suspended and the streets were lined by an enthusiastic and cheering multitude
who showered all kinds of gifts on the troops."
Settling into their new surroundings 'The Optimist' remarked that the change of weather and that
of the scenery was most welcome. he also noted the the extensive heathland and commons so characteristic of the area proved
more conducive for military manoeuvres as the men were about to experience.
The camp consisted at this stage of the War primarily of tented accommodation with a few huts but the camp would
rapidly expand and become more permanent as the conflict progressed.
On the 1st May, the 11th (Northern) Division played host to two distinguished visitors, namely His Majesty the King
who was also accompanied by Lord Kitchener, Secretary of State for War. After inspecting the men, the following Divisional
Order was issued:
the King has desired the G.O.C. to convey to the troops his appreciation of the splendid appearance and steadiness of the
men on parade yesterday. His Majesty also remarked on the good condition of the horses. Finally His Majesty said to the G.O.C.,
"It has been a very great pleasure to me to see such a splendid body of men, and I desire you to so inform the troops."
The Battalion would also witness
or change in command whilst at Witley when Colonel Frend was replaced by another officer from the 3rd Battalion, West Yorkshire
Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel John O'Brien Minogue. An experienced officer who had risen through the ranks, Minogue had
served with a variety of regiments during the course of his service career however the Colonel did possess an affiliation
to the West Yorkshire Regiment dating back to 1893.
the end of June there must have been rumours of an impending move to active service circulating as the American equipment
previously issued to the men was replaced by the British made 1908 pattern webbing. Suspicions were no doubt aroused further
when all the men were issued with khaki drill and helmets of the 'Foreign Service' variety, the latter also referred
to as the 'Pagri.'
Albert and the men of the West
Yorkshire's were soon to have their suspicions confirmed when orders were issued to the 32nd Infantry Brigade at 3 p.m.
on the afternoon of the 31st June to prepare for entrainment the following day, destination, as yet unknown to the men, was
to be the Dardanelles.
For a comprehensive account of the
actions of the 9th West Yorkshire Regiment during the Dardanelles Campaign the reader may wish to follow this link:
Albert would not survive his first action as a soldier of the
British Army in common with the many men who had enlisted at Wetherby in August 1914. The circumstances as to Albert's
link to the town are unknown at present but this commemoration is indicative of some of the men who enlisted from counties
far a field where no direct link can be ascertained.
Albert's body could unfortunately not be identified after the conflict therefore he is now commemorated on the
Helles Memorial, Gallipoli as well as being commemorated on the village memorial at Barrow, Suffolk.
The Helles Memorial, an obelisk standing over 30 metres in height, is situated
on the tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula with commanding views over the Dardanelles Straits.
The memorial is one of dual function, i.e., providing a memorial for those Commonwealth servicemen who died and have
no known grave and that of a Commonwealth battle memorial for the Dardanelles Campaign.
Of the Indian and United Kingdom forces commemorated on the memorial, the latter died throughout the Peninsula, the
Australians who are now commemorated here, at Helles. Panels are also incorporated to commemorate those who died or were buried
at sea in the waters surrounding Gallipoli. In this imposing position and remembering the sacrifices of those who served in
the Campaign, the memorial now commemorates over 21,000 individuals.
In addition to the Helles Memorial, four further memorials commemorate the Missing of the Dardanelles Campaign. Hill
60, Lone Pine and Chunuk Bair memorials commemorate Australian and New Zealand forces at Anzac whilst the Twelve Tree Copse
Memorial commemorates New Zealanders at Helles. In the United Kingdom, the following memorials commemorate United Kingdom
naval casualties lost or buried at sea; Plymouth, Portsmouth and Chatham respectively.
|Extract Of Panels 47-51. Photograph Courtesy Of Bob Pike.
|Helles Memorial. Image Courtesy Of The Commonwealth War Graves Commission.