Monday, February 23, 2015

Pioneer Alfred James Trafford 63668

Pioneer Alfred James Trafford


There was only one Alfred J Trafford on the CWGC database and their records show his parents lived very close to St James’s Church.

Family Information

Alfred J Trafford was born on the 18th January 1883 at 86 Radcliffe Street, Liverpool. His parents were Matilda and James Richardson Trafford, a shipping clerk. The birth certificate shows that his mother had been married before, her name being ‘Matilda Trafford, late Kelly, formerly Blair’.

The 1891 census shows the family lived at 5 Upper Stanhope Street (Matilda, James and 4 children) with another 7 people listed as lodgers.

We know that James was a pupil at St James’s School, Toxteth and was a member of the 10th Liverpool Boy’s Brigade.

The 1901 census shows the Trafford family were still living at 5 Upper Stanhope Street although Matilda was a widow and head of the household. She was working as a charwoman and had 5 of her children living with her. Alfred was 19 on this census and his occupation was boat builder. He served his shipwrights apprenticeship with Mr Philip Winram and Sons, Jordan-street, Liverpool.

The 1911 census doesn't show much change in Alfred's situation, he was 29 and still living at 5 Upper Stanhope St with his mother and siblings. He was still working as a boat builder.

Military information

A newspaper report of his death shows that Alfred J Trafford joined the 86th Company, Royal Engineers on January 15, 1915 and on July 4 went out with the 11th Division M.E.F. (Mediterranean Expeditionary Force) arriving at Gallipoli on ‘the memorable Aug. 6’. 

The medal rolls show that he served with the Royal Engineers as a Pioneer with the regimental number 63668. They show that he disembarked 7/8/15 and died of wounds 1/11/15.

The Medal Index Card adds that he first entered the theatre of war Egypt on 7/8/1915 and was eligible for the British War Medal, the Allied Victory Medal and the 1915 Star.

He was in the 86th Company of the Corps of Royal Engineers, in February 1915 this company had been attached to the 11th (Northern) Division. They embarked from Liverpool on 30th June 1915 and landed at Lala Baba in Sulva Bay on 6-7th August which matches Alfred J Trafford’s date of disembarkation.  

The WW1 website The Long Long Trail has an explanation of what is a Field Company. and information on the 11th Division Gallipoli landings.

Death and commemoration

Information from UK Soldiers Died in the Great War (below) shows that Alfred died on 1st November 1915 at Gallipoli. The newspaper article shows that he died from a gunshot wound in Tigne Military Hospital on Malta.

Alfred James Trafford
Birth Place:
Death Date:
1 Nov 1915
Death Location:
Enlistment Location:
Corps of Royal Engineers
Type of Casualty:
Died of wounds
Theatre of War:
Balkan Theatre
86Th Field Coy., R.E.

Alfred J Trafford was buried in Malta, which was used as a hospital and convalescent base for the wounded from Gallipoli and Salonika. He lies in grave D.I.6 of Pieta Military Cemetery. His mother chose to have the following inscribed on his grave:

Lead, Kindly Light, Amid the Encircling Gloom. From Mother, Liverpool.

The following article was printed in the Liverpool Echo on 10th Feb 1916:

The younger brother mentioned in the article was Corporal Henry William Trafford 12993 who served with the Grenadier Guards in France and survived the war. Alfred James had been a witness in 1911 when he married Ethel Sybil Lambert in St James's Church. 

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