Private Alfred Stevens MM, 99th Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps, died of his wounds at Keighley War Hospital on 30th April 1918, having been invalided to the UK. Born in Shirley in 1889, Alfred became a clerk with the Britannic Assurance company.
Alfred was the fourth of the seven children of parents John Robert Stevens and Kate Jones, who had married in Aston in 1878. They initially set up home in Oxfordshire, where their first two children were born – Thomas Frederick (1879-1891) and Edward (born 1881).
Between 1881-1884 the family moved to Shirley, Solihull, where they lived until at least December 1894. They had moved to Aston by 1901 and to Sparkbrook by 1909, when John Robert Stevens died, and to Balsall Heath by 1911.
In the summer of 1914 Alfred married Edey Winifred Baugham Cooper, and it seems they set up home with her parents at “Mullion”, Holland Road, Sutton Coldfield. They are not known to have had any children.
It seems that Alfred volunteered for the Army soon after the outbreak of war, first seeing overseas service on 16th November 1915. In the London Gazette of 6th January 1917 he was awarded the Military Medal for bravery, relating to his service on the Somme in October 1916. He worked continuously for 72 hours, rescuing the wounded, despite having been wounded himself at the beginning of the action. Granted home leave in August 1917, he was presented with a gold watch and chain by his employer, Britannic Assurance, for his bravery and being awarded the Military Medal.
Having returned to the Front, he was wounded in the chest on 5th April 1918 and, after being transferred to a Base hospital, was shipped to England on 18th April.
A funeral service was held at St Peter’s Church, Maney and he was buried with full military honours at Sutton Coldfield Cemetery. With the family having left Shirley by 1901, his name is not included on Shirley war memorial. He is also commemorated in the Royal Sutton Coldfield Great War Project 2014.
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Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
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