2nd Durham Light Infantry, 21 September 1914
Synopsis of Life and Military Service
Louis Augustus Alcock was born in the 4th quarter of 1887 at Golden Bridge, Dublin, Ireland, he was the son of Thomas Alcock and his second wife Agnes, his father had been a soldier who had been posted to Ireland where his wife Agnes was also born so it is likely that that is where they met. The children of Thomas and Agnes, including Alexander were born in Ireland.
In the 1901 Census when he was 14 years old, he was shown to be a Servant at 68 West Gate, Mansfield, the home of Surgeon William Gray and his family.
On 9 July 1903, Louis joined the Durham Light Infantry at Derby, although he undoubtedly lied about his age as he gave his age as 18 years. On enlistment, he was described as:-
- Height: 5’6″
- Weight: 112lbs
- Chest: 32 – 35″ maximum.
- Complexion: Fresh
- Eyes: Brown.
- Hair: Brown.
- Religion: Roman Catholic.
- Occupation: Waiter.
His initial posting was to Newcastle and he appears to have served most of the following 3 years there.
He was appointed as a Lance Corporal on 29 August 1904, sadly, this promotion wasn’t to last long as he appears to have been involved in several misdemeanours early in his service. His Regimental Conduct Sheet shows the following:-
- 1 May 1905 at Aldershot: Absent from Tattoo in which he was severely reprimanded.
- 3 June 1905 possibly at Newcastle – Disobedience of Company Orders and using filthy language to a Corporal – He was likely demoted for this charge.
- 19 October 1905 at Newcastle: Having a woman in the Garrison Police Hut – Punishment 168 hours IHL(?).
- Unknown date in 1905 – Drunkenness
From the 28 February 1906 I looks like he was posted to India, where he was appointed as a bandsmen on 18 December 1908. He was there until 6 January 1911 when he returned to service in the U.K., he was only in the U.K. until the 5 March of the same year when he left and was placed in the Reserve. His address at this time was given as 25 Railway Lane, Blaydon, Tyne and Wear.
He was soon to join the Police as he is also shown in the 1911 Census as being a Policeman, residing in Nottingham, with his brother, brothers wife and his own sister Ellen. Ellens’ occupation at the time was shown as Cardboard Box Maker, so it is possible that Louis met his fiancée, Nellie Cordon around this time who was a ‘Box Bander’.
On 5 August 1914, he was recalled to service and remained in the U.K until his transfer to France on the 8 September 1914. He was killed 13 days later on the 21st September 1914. (The diary entry for the unit at the time is transcribed below)
He is honoured and remembered at the La Ferte-Sous-Jouarre Memorial, Seine-et-Marne, France as he was either never found or was never identified.
The single Pension Card for both Louis and Alexander show their mother Agnes as receiving the funds from their respective pensions as a result of their deaths, her address was shown as Chapel Street, Birr, Kings Co. (now County Offaly) Ireland.
His fiancée, Nellie Cordon, 5 Citadel Street, Old Radford, Nottingham inherited his personal affects and property as she was named in his final will and the Sole Legate in the Registration of Soldiers Effects.
The War Diary of the 2nd Durham Light Infantry 20 September 1914
The following is an extract from the above publication:- The entry is dated 20th September 1914, there is no further entry until the 25th September 1914.
TRAYON – 20th September 1914
At about 1pm, owing to the battalion on the right giving way, reported to be caused by a white flag incident, our right flank was enfiladed by a German machine-gun and suffered loss until the battalion in reserve re-occupied the trenches, on the right flank one company and a half on the left flank, left their trenches and advanced and suffered loss until they returned to their trenches. Casualties. Killed Major Mauder, Captain Hare, 2nd Lieutenant Stannel, 2nd Lieutenant Marshall, Major Robb (Died of wounds). Wounded – Lieut. Twist, Lieut. Gray-Wilson, 2nd Lieut.Gale, 2nd Lieut. Mearns, 2nd Lieut. Baker. Lieutenant and Adjutant Gotsal was wounded by a shrapnel in the morning. N.C.O.’s and men killed 36, wounded 92.
Luis Augustus Alcock was born in the 4th quarter of 1887 at Golden Bridge, Dublin, Ireland. The following family details has been ascertained from various Census’s.
His family is shown as follows :-
- Father: Thomas Alcock, born c.1849 at Oxton, Nottinghamshire.
- Step-Mother: Ellen Alcock, born c.1855 at Lanarkshire.
- Mother: Agnes Alcock, born c.1864 at Ireland.
- Step-Sister: Elizabeth E., born c.1877 at Portsea, Hampshire.
- Step-Brother: Thomas R., born c.1879 at Portsmouth, Hampshire.
- Step-Brother: Charles W., born c.1880 at Shorncliffe Camp, Kent.
- Brother: Alexander Francis, born c1889 at Ireland.
- Sister: Mary, born c.1893 at Ireland.
- Sister: Ellen Seymour, born 25 August 1893 at Ireland.
- Sister: Victoria Maud, born c.1898 at Ireland.
Furthermore, The Register of Soldiers Effects for his brother Alexander, gives a long list of recipients a small amount of money from the military following his death, apart from his mother, all would appear to be his brothers, sisters and step-brothers, the additional ones not mentioned above being William, Bernard, John and Teresa.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission displays his surname as Allcock, in fact this is the name recorded in his Service Record. However, his brother and the rest of the family are all recorded as being Alcock, there is also numerous documents showing that the surname of Louis is Alcock. I have requested that the C.W.G.C. change their panel with the correct surname. *Update* – The CWGC have agreed that his surname on the memorial should be shown as Alcock and will change it when the Panel next requires updating.
The following addresses have been ascertained for Louis Alcock :-
- 1901: 68 West Gate, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.
- 1911: 25 Railway Lane, Blaydon, Tyne and Wear.
- 1911: 42 Marcus Street, Lenton, Nottingham. (Now Alderney Street)
- August 1914: 5 Citadel Street, Old Radford, Nottingham. (address of fiancée)
Other than the La Ferté-sous-Jouarre Memorial, I have been unable to trace a specific War Memorial for him.
Links to Additional Information
- Find a Grave website – Louis Alcock – La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial
- A Street Near You website – Louis Alcock
- Lives of the First World War – Louis Alcock
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission – Louis Alcock
- Nottinghamshire County Council – Roll of Honour
- National Archive of Ireland – Will of Louis Alcock
- Medal Index Card.
- Soldiers Died in the Great War.
- Register of Soldiers Effects.
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
- Find a Grave.
- 1901 Census.
- 1911 Census.
- Army Service Record.
- Medal Roll – Durham Light Infantry – British War Medal and Victory Medal.
- Nottingham Evening Post dated 16 October 1914.
- Nottingham Evening Post dated 20 September 1915.
- Pension Cards – (Western Front Association)
- Ireland WW1 Casualties.
- War Diary 2nd Durham Light Infantry.
- Irish Registration of Births 1864 – 1958.
- Will and Testament.
- Vincent Stuart.