Dedicated to the memory of all the men and women of the Bridgnorth area who died during the two World Wars.
Albert James Williams was the son of George Williams, a carter, and his wife, Annie. They lived in Underhill Street and, later, on Ebenezer Steps. When he had left school, Albert went to work in the carpet factory as helper to a weaver.
At the outbreak of the war Albert was already a member of the Territorials. He would have been mobilized immediately with the 1/4th Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. The battalion sailed for India in October 1914 to take over the duties of regular troops to free them up for the war. It served in India, Singapore and Hong Kong before returning via South Africa in 1917. It then went to the Western Front in time for the Second Battle of Passchendaele and the Action of Welsh Ridge.
Albert was killed in action on the Arras sector on 26th March, 1918 – during the German Spring Attack. He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial.
The action of 26th March is recorded in the Regimental History:
By 11 a.m., March 25th, following persistent enemy attacks the right flank became practically enveloped, casualties were heavy and another withdrawal became essential if annihilation was to be avoided. This was effected by 3 p.m. through the 62nd Division, and a new line was occupied west of Miraumont, the battalion being the last unit of the British Army in Bapaume for many months.
Orders were received late at night from the G.O.C. 56th Brigade to withdraw further and rendezvous at Hebuterne. This was effected and, in the early hours of the morning of the 26th, officers and men of the now greatly reduced battalion were looking for billets in the hopes of, at any rate, a short period of rest. At about 6.30 a.m. General Jeffreys, G.O.C. 19th Division, rode through the streets with his Staff. When this party reached the eastern exit of the village it was seen to turn about and gallop back, as it had ridden right into a party of the enemy who were on the point of entering the town. The remains of the Brigade, about 250 strong, fell in, fixed bayonets and doubled in fours down the main streets in the direction of the enemy, who were seen advancing over a crest about 800 yards away. Covered by the fire of the N. Staffords and Cheshire Regiment the battalion, now reduced to under 50 men, charged with the bayonet headed by Colonel Bowen, whereupon the enemy took to flight without awaiting an actual collision.
At 10 p.m. on the same day the Division was relieved by an Australian Division, and the battalion withdrew to Sailly-aux-Bois. [Wood, p.112]
Bugler Williams, 200487, was awarded the Victory and British Medals and the Territorial Forces War Medal. His name is included in a list of men still missing which was published in the Bridgnorth Journal on 19th October, 1918.
This memorial has mostly been compiled from official sources. It would be good to be able to expand it with more personal material - memories, stories, photos, etc. If you have any suitable material or any corrections please contact Greg. For news of updates follow @BridgnorthHeros on Twitter.