8968 L/Cpl ALBERT WILLIAMS, 2nd Royal Berkshire Regt, d. 25 Sep 1915 aged 30
Albert Williams was born in 1886 into a long-established East Ilsley family. His childhood home was a cottage in Cow Lane, and later Narborough Lane off Stanmore Road. Albert began his working life on the farm like his father Charlie, but decided to join the Army and in September 1908 he enlisted in the Royal Berkshire Regiment, at around the same time as Edward Mills. Assigned to the 2nd Battalion, Albert was posted to India, and was probably serving there when the battalion was ordered home to England for mobilisation. He arrived with Edward in France in early November 1914.
The date of 25 September 1915 implies the Battle of Loos, but Albert was not killed at Loos. Major offensives were often supported by smaller diversionary attacks. It was in one of these that he fell, a bombing raid on the German trenches at Bois Grenier, where Edward Mills had died two months earlier.
The Battalion took part in an attack on the German position and during the day sustained the following casualties:-
Officers Killed: (7 are named)
Officers Wounded: (5 are named)
Other Ranks: Killed 32, Missing 143, Wounded 216.
For the report of the operation, see Appendix III, “Report by LIEUT-COLONEL G.P.S. HUNT, Commanding 2nd Royal Berkshire Regiment.”
On the day after the action, the Divisional Commander addressed the 2nd Royal Berks:
But Albert was not there to hear it. Sadly he remained among the missing, and he is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial, six miles away across the Belgian border in the village the Tommies called “Plug Street”.
* All photos: British War Graves