Date of birth: 1881
Date of death: 20.12.1915
Regiment: York and Lancaster
Family information: Eldest son of Henry and Delilah Clifton
Rank: Lance Corporal
Service number: 7329
Albert enlisted aged 22 with the York and Lancaster Regiment on 12th May 1903 and given the Regimental number 7329. He was 5ft 6in with hazel eyes and dark brown hair and had a scar on his right cheek. He served in India from 28th November 1903 and was made Lance-Corporal in 1904, although he lost his stripe in 1906 for “inefficiency”. Promoted again to Lance Corporal in May 1910 he was once again demoted in May 1914 when court marshalled for drunkenness while serving in Limerick. He extended his enlistment in 1911 whilst serving in Karachi, India and the 1911 Census shows both Albert and James serving in India together with the 1st Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment. Both were recorded as Privates; however Albert was appointed unpaid Lance Corporal in September 1915.
On 19th December the Battalion were in POPERINGHE and at 6am were subject to heavy shelling. At 7.15am news was received of an enemy gas attack and orders were received to move. By 11.15am they had reached CANAL and had made HQ at MACHINE GUN FM. On 20th the war diary recorded “heavy shelling all day – all roads and approaches shelled by enemy”.
Lance-Corporal 7329 Albert Clifton of the Yorks and Lancaster 2nd Battalion died on 20th December 1915 and was buried in the La Brique Military Cemetery. The following appeared in the Wakefield Express
“WRENTHORPE SOLDIER KILLED IN ACTION
Official intimation has been received on Saturday of the death in action on December 20th of Lance-Corporal Albert Clifton of the 2nd York and Lancaster Regiment. He was a Wrenthorpe man and his parents live at Carr Gate. Clifton who was a single man and (illegible) years of age had been in the army twelve years, part of which time he was stationed in India.”
And on the 23rd January there was a report on the memorial service
“ST ANNE’S CHURCH – a memorial service was held on Sunday afternoon for Lance-Corporal Albert Clifton and Private William Buck who were killed in France. The Vicar (Rev J H Kirk) gave an address and the “Dead March” was played by the organist Mr Fred Butterfield at the close of service.”
The following year his family put a memorial in the Wakefield Express
“CLIFTON – In loving memory of Lance-Corporal Albert Clifton eldest son of Mr and Mrs Henry Clifton of Carr Gate who died on December 20th 1915 aged 35 years ‘He hath given his best’.”
In the Register of Soldiers’ Effects his next of kin was his father Henry and he was awarded the 14 Star as well as the Victory and British War Medal.
Albert’s brother James was also killed in action (see separate entry).
Albert was the eldest son of (John) Henry and Delilah Clifton born in 1881. He was baptised at St Anne’s Wrenthorpe on 27th October 1886 when the family lived at Bragg Lane End Wrenthorpe and Henry was a miner.
In the 1881 census they were recorded as living at Sharp’s Fold Wrenthorpe with Henry a miner and Delilah a worsted spinner – Albert was 3 weeks old. By the 1891 census they were living at Wheel Hill and now had Annie Elizabeth who was born in 1883 and Jim (James) born in 1885, both of whom were baptised on the same day as Albert. They also had a daughter Martha in 1890 but she had sadly died the same year aged just three months.
In the 1901 census Albert was now a miner and was boarding with the Leather family who were also to lose two of their sons in France. His parents lived next door but one and had three more children – Henry (b1895), Alfred (b1897) and Arthur (b1900).
In the 1911 census Henry and Delilah were living at Carr Gate and had erroneously written down all their children still living (apparently four had already died). Although the enumerator had crossed the entries out it could still be read that Annie Elizabeth was married and James and Albert were recorded as being in the army.