Felixtowe letter card 1917 [AU41/3/6]
Monday 23rd July 1917: News has reached Bedford that Private Alfred John Alder of 65, Gwyn Street was one of eight soldiers of the 3rd Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment killed in an air raid at Landguard Camp, Felixstowe yesterday morning. Private Alder joined the reserve battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment at the beginning of the war. After performing various home duties he was sent to France seven months ago and was wounded at Loos at Easter. After recovering at Bradford Hospital he spent a few days leave at Bedford before returning to his unit ten days ago. Last week his daughter received a letter from him telling her that the shrapnel embedded in his shoulder had shifted towards his back, but he was “going on very well”.
The tragedy of Private Alder’s death is all the greater as his wife died in October 1915, three days after giving birth to their youngest child; their nine children are now left orphans. After her mother’s death their eldest daughter Dorothy, then aged 16, left her job in service to look after her brothers and sisters while their father was serving his country. The youngest daughter, Ethel, who is now one year and nine months old, has been cared for by relatives, but Dorothy has been responsible for the other seven and has kept their home spic and span. Her grandfather is reported as saying that “Dorothy has been a good girl; she has kept the home going, and looked after the children well”. The three oldest boys are now at work, and the four younger children are still at school.
Two of the other victims of the air raid are also from Bedfordshire: Private George Smith is from Upper Gravenhurst, and Private Albert Wilton from Henlow.
Source: Bedfordshire Standard 27th July 1917