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Hurst Infant School, 1893
Hurst Infant School, 1893
image: CD-Rom of Hurst
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Blake, Alfred Thomas

Alfred Thomas Blake
Victory Medal
Victory Medal
British War Medal
British War Medal
Private Alfred Thomas Blake (19686)
Killed in Action on Thursday 8th August 1918
Battle of Amiens, aged 29
Son of William & Rachel Blake
Father's occupation: Railway Platelayer
Born 17th April 1887 at Woodley
1 sister, 4 brothers, position in family: 2
Relatives: Brother of GS/90094 Signlr Albert Blake & 1630 L/Corpl Sidney Blake
Infant School:Hurst Infants
Senior School:Hurst Boys
Admitted:21st May 1894
Age on admission:7
Left school:8th November 1899
Age at leaving:12
Local address: Murrell Green, Winnersh
Enlisted:Wokingham, End Nov 1915
Regiment:Royal Berkshire
Battalion:"D" Coy. 5th Bn.
Division:12th (Eastern)
Went overseas:After 1 Jan 1916
Died:Thursday 8th August 1918
Cause:Killed in Action
Action:Battle of Amiens
Battalion at:Chessboard Wood, Morlancourt
Commemorated:Memorial at Vis-en-Artois Memorial

Alfred Blake was born in Woodley on 17th April 1887 to William and Rachael Blake, the second eldest of five children. By the age of three he was living at Broadcommon Farm in Hurst where his father was an agricultural labourer. Alfred attended Hurst Infants School and at the age of seven became a pupil in Hurst Boys School, leaving when he was twelve in November 1899. By 1901 Alfred's father had become a railway platelayer and the family of four boys and one girl had moved to Dunt Lane, Hurst.

Alfred enlisted into the army in Wokingham in November 1915 and was assigned to 5th Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment. He went to France in 1916 and was reported wounded in the Berkshire Chronicle in September of that year. By 7th August 1918 Alfred was back with his Battalion in Divisional Reserve at Bonnay, just west of Amiens. It was the eve of the Battle of Amiens and they were operating under the orders of G.O.C. 53rd Infantry Brigade, 18th Division.

At 9 p.m. the Battalion moved forward to its assembly positions near Chessboard Wood, ready to support the attack. Next day they advanced through a heavy barrage to reinforce the firing line and stem the German counter-attack. The Battalion successfully consolidated the position despite the attention of machine guns and field guns firing from close range over open sights.

The Battle of Amiens was the opening action in the allied Advance to Victory. It was the first of a string of victories that led to the Armistice on 11th November 1918. At some point on Thursday 8th August 1918 Alfred Blake was killed; he was 29 years old. Alfred has no known grave and is commemorated on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial.


Alfred Blake on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial
Vis-en-Artois Memorial

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in morning
We will remember them.
Lawrence Binyon