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Friday 18th June 2021  

Quorn WW1 Roll of Honour - Alfred Blackshaw

Died 29th June 1915, aged 17
Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey

The youngest soldier to die

Alfred Blackshaw was the youngest soldier in Quorn to lose his life. Ten of the young men who died were only teenagers and many would have still been at school had they been born in a later generation. Alfred Blackshaw, Percy Boyer, Percy Facer and Charley Ottey were all only either seventeen or eighteen when they died. They had all been born, baptised and attended school in Quorn, and they would undoubtedly have played together as children.

A childhood in Quorn
Alfred was born in 1898 shortly after his family moved to Quorn from London. Alfred’s father had moved because of his work, and together with his wife Jessie and their five children, settled in the village after he got a job at Wright’s factory, complete with a house. Alfred was the youngest child and the family lived at (what is now) 34 Wood Lane.


As Alfred was growing up there were lots of lads living of a similar age living in the Wood Lane cottages, but his best friend was William Hallam, who lived next door. William survived the war and as he got older would often talk about his old pal ‘Alfie’. The photograph of Alfie Blackshaw in his ‘civvies’ came to light after William died. Note that this is a different William Hallam to the William Hallam who lived on Barrow Road, and died in Belgium in 1914.

Joining up
Alfred joined the King's Own Scottish Borderers early in 1915. His choice of regiment may seem unusual, but although many men joined the local regiment (the Leicesters), other regiments from surprising distances would have recruitment drives, often with bands marching through the villages. To lads brought up in Quorn and rarely leaving the village, they were offering the chance to ‘fight for King and country’, to be part of a band of uniformed and admired soldiers and to go to places they had never even dreamed about before – the opportunity for many must have seemed very exciting and an adventure that was too good to miss.

Killed in action
On the 12th August 1915 the Loughborough Herald reported:
“News has been received that Private Blackshaw, whose parents live in Wood Lane, has been killed at the front. He was a young man, not 18 years of age, and joined the King's Own Scottish Borderers at the time the Pipers' Band visited Quorn early in the spring of this year.”

Alfred was killed in the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign after only a few short months of service. His body was never identified and he is commemorated on the Helles Memorial in Turkey.

In October 1916, Alfred’s elder brother Sydney, who was in the Durham Light Infantry, was seriously injured and reported in both the Loughborough Monitor and Quorn Parish Magazine as being in a dangerous condition in hospital. James and Jessie must have been desperate with worry, but fortunately Sydney pulled through.

Below:
1) Alfred before he joined up.
2) Alfred in his uniform, this photograph appeared in the newspaper after his death.
3) A modern photograph of 34 Wood Lane.


   
 Submitted on: 2020-01-13
 Submitted by: Sue Templeman and with thanks to David Bowers
 Artefact ID: 2334

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