HOPEWELL, Albert Edward [of Southwell]

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Newark Advertiser 21st April 1915

First Southwell Territorial to be killed

By Mike Kirton

Albert Edward Hopewell

8th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters, No. 2059

Born 1888, Killed in action 15th April 1915.

Name recorded on a memorial plaque at the former works of Messrs. Carey & Sons (lace-makers) on the Burgage, Southwell, Notts.

Albert Hopewell was born in Kimberley in 1888, the son of Henry and Alice Hopewell.  He was educated in Bulwell, but at the turn of the century the family moved to Chatham Street, Southwell as his father went to work for E. Carey & Sons Ltd, lace makers in Southwell.  Albert followed his father into Carey’s and trained as a lace maker.  In 1908 he joined ‘H’ Company, 8th Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Territorial unit), which was something of a tradition amongst the employees of the company.  He served alongside his brothers John and William.  Albert and John went to France in February/March 1915 (William had joined the Royal Marines in 1913 – see his entry).

On 3rd April 1915 the battalion had attended a Church Parade taken by the Bishop of London. It was a wet and windy day, and the men were miserable as they could not hear a word of the bishop’s address. On their mind was the start of the ‘great adventure’, as described by the battalion diarist, as they prepared themselves to take over a trench sector from the 1st Devons. For days they had been hearing the sound of battle and their moment for action was quickly approaching.  That night they set off in the dark from their billets in Kemmel Village and took their places in the trenches, with ‘B’ Company (Southwell and Newark men) in supporting points. The trench line varied between 25 and 300 yards’ distance from the German front line. The first few days were relatively quiet and the battalion suffered its first casualty on 6th April when Private J Hyde was killed by a sniper. In those early days the men spent 4 days in the trenches and 4 days out, in which time they had to undertake support duties from their base at Locre. It was during this early period at the front that Albert was killed in action on 15th April. The battalion war diary does not record the specific event, but whilst at Kemmel, April – June, the battalion lost 49 men and 120 were wounded. It is difficult to imagine how this collection of ‘Pals’ from our area reconciled themselves to these violent deaths, and in particular John Hopewell who served in the same company. Albert Hopewell is buried in Grave E59 at Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery at Hevvellard, West Vlaandeven, Belgium, about 8 miles from Ypres.

Albert was the first Southwell territorial to be killed, he was awarded the Victory, British and 1914-15 Star medals.

Extracted from Southwell at War 1914 - 1919

This page was added by Mike Kirton on 24/07/2014.

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