This week we remembered Morton man Albert Edward Whitethread, who died on the 1st June 1917 during training.

Albert was born in Fosdyke, Lincolnshire in the summer of 1881. His father John Whitethread was a blacksmith and general dealer born in West Dereham in 1849. He married Albert’s mother, Mary Ann Percival in 1876 in the Spalding area.

The family moved to Bourne in 1883/4 where Albert their 6th child was born. By 1891 the family had moved again to Morton where John took over the Blacksmith’s shop.
By now they were a large family and by 1911 they had their 11th Child but also had lost one.

William Robert Whitethread, 1877, Sleaford
Fanny Whitethread, early 1878, Spalding
Herbert Whitethread, late 1878, Heal
Clara Whitethread, 1879, Heal
Beatrice Whitethread, 1880, Heal
Albert Edward Whitethread, 1881 Fosdyke
Agnoria Jane Whitethread, 1883, Fosdyke
Ethel Whitethread, 1884, Bourne
Edith Whitethread, 1888, Morton
John Arthur Whitethread, 1893, Morton

On 31st May 1909 Albert married Annie Katherine Skeeles (b1880 St Ives, Huntingdonshhire) in Atherstone. They had one child, Constance Lillian Whitethread, born in 1910.

By 1911 Albert was living with his brother William in Hanthorpe. William had a saddlers business but Albert still, although living there was still working as a blacksmith.
Albert’s wife Annie and daughter Constance were living in Morton as borders with the Taylor family.

Albert Whitethread was enlisted on the 24th June 1916 in Grantham and his place of residence at the time was listed as Bourne.
He was called up on the 15th March 1917 and posted into “James Bradford’s 3rd Company” Army Service Corps two days later, his attestation papers list his rank as a Driver.

On the 24th May 1917 Albert was transferred to the 88th Training Reserve Battalion. This was, up to the end of 1916, the 19th reserve Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment but the re-organisation of the Training Battalions from September 1916 meant that the Training Reserve were no longer aligned to any regiment. This was the case until May 1917 when the training Battalions were returned to a regimental affiliation.

The 88th Training Battalion were stationed at Link House Camp, Blythe, Northumberland and Albert would have been sent there for training with the Battalion on 24th May.

Albert was admitted to the 1st Northern General Hospital in Newcastle on the 31st May 1917. He died the next day, on the 1st June, after Broncho Pneumonia set in.

On Albert’s pension papers from July 1917, Annie Katherine or “Kate” is listed as Wife (Separated) and daughter Constance is living with her Grand Parents in St Ives.

Grantham Journal Saturday 9th June 1917
SAD NEWS – Yet another Morton young man has paid the great sacrifice, under distressing circumstances. A few days ago, Mr John Whitethread, blacksmith, received a wire from Newcastle informing him that his son, Albert Whitethread, a private in the R.F.A., was in hospital and seriously ill. Mr Whitethread went at once, only to find that the worst had happened, and that his son had been dead some time. The body was conveyed to Morton on Tuesday, and the funeral took place on Wednesday, the service being conducted in the Wesleyan Chapel by the Rev Comyn Jones, Congregational minister, of Bourne, the body afterwards being interred in the Churchyard. The Rev Jones conducted the service. Great sympathy is felt for the bereaved family. Deceased was well known, and only recently left Morton for the military duties. We understand that death was due to pneumonia. There were several beautiful floral tributes.

The internment in Morton churchyard was paid for by the military and Albert has a Commonwealth War Graves headstone.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission:
In memory of Private Albert Edward Whitethread, TR5/74304, 88th Battalion, Training Reserve who died on 15 June 1917 Age 35. Remembered with honour, Morton (St John the Baptist) Churchyard.

All records say he died on the 1st June and so the statement on the CWGC website is believed to be a typing error.