Albert Edwin NEWTON

Life story retold by Wendy Niven

Albert Edwin was born on 13 March 1887 in Brock Barracks in Tilehurst, Berkshire, the son of Ephraim Thomas Newton (born in Wheelock, Cheshire) and Sarah Louisa King (born in Aston, Berks). When his father left the army, they returned to his father’s birthplace in Sandbach. Albert enlistment papers record the following details: 5’7 1/2 inches height, 114 Lbs?, eyes hazel.

The school register for Elworth Church of England School (20 June 1862) states Albert’s name (#1275), his date of birth 30 March 1887, his address as Station Row and his father’s occupation as Chemical Worker. Ephraim transferred on 17 June 1895. The census data (1891) shows that they lived in a house with 5 rooms at 97 Red Row, Elton, Congleton, Crewe, Cheshire. Ephraim was 30 and Sarah Louisa 25 at the time. They had 2 sons: Albert Edward, 4 years and Henry Howard, 2 years. Their daughter, Louisa Ellesn was 7 months. At some time they returned to Tilehurst.

Ephraim of late Royal Berkshire Regiment (49th foot) died on 27 December 1942 in Woodley. He was 84 years old.

The 1911 census records show that Albert, 22 at the time, single, private soldier for 1st Batt. Royal Berkshire Regiment, lived in Dover Castle, Dover, Kent. Attestation papers show that Albert joined the army at the age of 18 years and 7 months. 3rd Royal Berkshire Regiment stamped discharge completed on 19/9/1918. Enlistment Records show: Tilehurst 1914-1920 Royal Berkshire Regiment, age 18, General Labourer.

Albert married Ethel Mary Butler on 7 November 1914 in St Mary the Virgin, Reading. They had 7 children: Albert John, Ida Maud Elizabeth, Rose Irene, Ronald Ephraim, Howard Arthur, Ada Louisa, Olive Maud. Between 1914-16 Private A.E. Newton, Unit 629 H.S., 8581 Royal Berks was living at 6 Connaught Road.

He was an army cook and baker in WW1. During WW1 Private A.E. Newton was stationed part of the time at Sutton Coalfield & Chester, 2nd Battalion. He was badly wounded (pelvic area) at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, France, June 1915. He was found in a barn nearby by a little French girl. She visited him every day while he was hospitalised. He had rubber tubes inserted for drainage, one on each side of his pelvis. These were left in place and they were visible. He was returned to England and was too badly injured to return to duty (pelvic injury). When he recovered sufficiently he worked as a postman and next worked for Great Western Railway. Dau Rose said that she walked to meet him every day after his work. Albert cooked a blade roast beef every Sunday that lasted the family of 9 until Thursday.

He was never a well man as a result of his injuries. He had 11 operations as a result of his wounds. Albert died on 13 July 1937 in Battle Hospital Reading. His funeral was on 17 July. Cause of death: hardening of arteries. Dau Rose said his war injuries shortened his life.

He is included in the Book of RBR soldiers in WW1 seen at Reading Library. On his photo the address given was 17 Sherwood Street (his parents’ home).

Albert’s younger Arthur was also a soldier during the 1st WW. Sadly he was killed in action on Jul 3 1916 and buried at Thiepval.

Albert’s memorial card said:

He left the world without a tear,
save for his wife and children dear,
To heal their sorrows, Lord descend,
And to the friendless prove a friend.
On Affectionate Remembrance of
The beloved husband of Ethel Mary Newton
Who departed this life July 13th, 1937
Aged 50 years.
And was interred at Reading Cemetery.
With the Family’s kind regards
22 Derby St., Reading Berks

To locate the grave (no marker left)…walk down until you reach the branch in the road and take the path on the right. A few yards along (about the 3rd row of graves) walk to your right until you find a large upright monument to a pilot named Hieatt. The Baker family with a smaller scroll-shaped marker to J.B. Butler and J.N. Nicholls is behind it. From there walk in a straight line towards the back of the cemetery for a couple of rows. Look for an upright monument to the Hawes family (inscription is on the back side of the stone). Albert is just in front with a large evergreen tree a few yards behind it.

Albert Edward Newton was my maternal grandfather and is buried in the Cemetery. It was very hard to find his resting place when we visited England. I am going to try and find out if we can get a stone to mark his rating grave. My Mum adored her father.

Buried in Section 41, Row C, Plot #8953