Poole, Albert William

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Albert William Poole MM

242700, Private, 3rd Prince of Wales’ Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment)
Died of illness after discharge, 11 October 1919, aged 31
Buried at the Great Orme’s Head Cemetery, Llandudno

CWGC registered (no family details)

Albert William Poole was born at Little Sutton on the Wirral to George P Poole, a gas engineer, and his wife Mary Magness Poole (née Griffiths) on 23 September 1888. The Census of 1891 records the family living at “The Gaswork’s Manager’s House”, Little Sutton; Albert (2) had three siblings: Andrew (12), Sarah (11) and Daniel (4). Mary Poole died in 1892 and George Poole married Martha Ann Littler in 1896. The Census of 1901 records Albert living with his father and stepmother at the Watergate Inn in Chester where his father was the publican. Albert must have made his way to Llandudno for on 5 January 1910 he married Ethel Jane Aikman (b Liverpool 1881) at St. George’s Parish Church. He gave his address as 3 St George’s Place, Llandudno. Their child Mary Amelia was born at Llandudno on 15 October 1910. The Census of Wales for 1911 records the family living at “Pengwern Cottage”, Vardre Lane, Llandudno; Albert was described as a driver for a laundry.

Albert Poole was medically examined at the Llandudno recruiting office on 1 December 1915 but was rejected as being not up to standard. Albert Poole attempted to join the army four or five times and was finally accepted on 24 October 1916 at Wrexham. Two documents in his files reveal that his height was 4 foot 10½ inches, another says he was 4 foot 11 inches. This shows that he was well below the usual minimum acceptable height for soldiers. He weighed 120 pounds. Albert was posted to a second line Territorial Force infantry battalion, the 2/5th South Lancashire Regiment, then at Blackdown, Hampshire with a regimental number of 6549. (The 5th Battalion had been at Warrington at the outbreak of war and almost immediately split into two: the 1/5th for Imperial Service overseas and the 2/5th for Home Service, forming at St. Helens. The 2/5th had moved to Ashford in Kent in February 1915, to Aldershot in June 1916, and to Blackdown in October 1916.)

In 1916, the soldiers in the second-line Territorial Force battalions were deemed as eligible for Imperial Service and some battalions, less their soldiers who could not serve overseas in action, were slated to join the front line. Consequently, the 2/5th South Lancs, including Albert Poole, disembarked at Boulogne in February 1917 – at about this time Albert’s regimental number was changed to 242700. According to his own testimony, Albert repeatedly reported sick and was assigned to sanitation duties. According to the War Diary, on the night of the 29/30 December 1917, the 2/5th South Lancs was holding the line at Houlthulst, a few miles to the north of Ypres in Belgium: “The BOCHE put up a very heavy barrage along our whole front.” A local Llandudno newspaper later reporting the action stated that it took place on the following night and that Albert Poole had been awarded the Military Medal for his conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty for repeatedly carrying messages through an intense barrage of German fire.

News reached the 2/5th South Lancs on 27 January 1918 that it was to be disbanded, it’s soldiers being used to reinforce other battalions. It was while the battalion was being disbanded near Armentieres when on 6 February 1918, Albert was admitted to No 54 Casualty Clearing Station at Merville suffering from appendicitis. After an operation, he was evacuated initially to No 35 General Hospital at Calais, then York Place Military Hospital at Brighton and later Preston Military Hospital. Whilst hospitalised, he was diagnosed as having aortic stenosis and he stated that as a youth: “… I had not been able to run as the other boys” and could not recall ever having had any rheumatic disease. For administrative purposes, Albert had been posted to the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion on 18 March 1918 and the following day, he had been gazetted as having received the Military Medal. He was posted to the Western Command Depot, a convalescent camp with 5000 beds, at Heaton Park on 6 May 1918. On 18 May 1918, he was posted back to the 3rd South Lancs at Barrow in Furness. On 6 June 1918, Albert had a medical board at Barrow, found to be medically unfit and recommended for discharge. He was formerly discharged on 18 August 1918 with a pension and awarded a Silver War Badge number 436584.

Albert William Poole died on 11 October 1919 aged 31 at “Berkeley Cottage” of endocarditis and convulsions. He was buried at the Great Orme’s Head Cemetery.

Ethel Poole lived with her daughter Mary at Deganwy in 1939. Ethel died in 1962 and shares her husband’s grave.

Known memorials:

  • Llandudno Roll of Honour
  • Llandudno War Memorial
  • Memorial Chapel, Holy Trinity Church, Llandudno

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