20-year-old Sergeant Alfred Rabone, the only son amongst the four children of parents Alfred Harry (who seems to have been known as Harry) and Jane Rabone, was killed in action on 24th February 1916, serving with the 10th Battalion, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.
According to the 1901 census Alfred was born in Olton in 1896, although baptism records show that he was baptised at Knowle parish church, aged 3 months, at which time his parents were living in Chessetts Wood and his father was working as a brickmaker. Soldiers Died in the Great War, and the 1911 census, both give his place of birth as Knowle.
By 1911, 15-year-old Alfred was working as a cycle enameller and living in Acocks Green with his parents and youngest sister, Janet (aged 13). His older sisters, Maud (19) and Bertha (17) were both in service in London and Olton respectively.
It’s not known when Alfred enlisted in the Army but his medal index card shows that he first entered a Theatre of War on 10th September 1915, five and a half months before he was killed. The 10th Battalion was formed at Pontefract in September 1914, one of five battalions raised in the town during August and September 1914.
Alfred is commemorated at the Cité Bonjean Military Cemetery, Armentieres, France, as well as being commemorated locally on the war memorial in St Margaret’s Church, Olton.
Tragically, just eight months after Alfred’s death, his parents were killed in a road traffic accident in Warwick Road, Olton:
Birmingham Daily Post 25 November 1916PERIL OF DARKENED STREETSHUSBAND AND WIFE KILLED BY MOTOR-OMNIBUSMr Isaac Bradley (City Coroner) held an inquest at the Victoria Courts yesterday, upon the body of Alfred Harry Rabone (52) a general labourer, who lived a 2 Kingston Cottages, Station Road, Acocks Green.He and his wife were knocked down by a motor-omnibus on Sunday, the 29th ult., in the Warwick Road, Olton. Mrs Rabone was instantly killed, and her husband received injuries to his right leg and forehead, which caused his death in the General Hospital on Wednesday.The driver of the motor ‘bus, which was travelling towards town at about seven miles an hour, said the first he saw of Rabone and his wife was when he was about five yards from them. They were walking in the middle of the road. He sounded his horn, applied his brakes, and made his ‘bus swerve to try to avoid them, but without success.The Coroner commented upon the danger of persons walking in the road on these dark nights.A verdict of “Accidental death” was returned.
If you have any more information on Alfred or his family, please let us know.
Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
tel: 0121 704 6977