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  • Christina Drummond

Private Alfred Herbert Jardine, 9th Battalion, the King's Regiment (Liverpool)

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1915, Private Alfred Herbert Jardine, 9th Battalion, the King's Regiment (Liverpool), died from wounds received the previous day at Vermelles, six miles south-east of Bethune in France.

His parents’ only son, he enlisted in the army on the 29th of September, 1914, just a few weeks after his sixteenth birthday - he gave his age as eighteen years and two months. When his father discovered that his son had enlisted he went to the recruiting office to protest that he was under-age, but was told that the official papers had already been signed and was turned away. The 9th Battalion, a battalion of the Territorial Force, was mobilised on the day that war was declared. They trained in Dunfermline, where they were part of the Firth of Forth defences, as the threat of invasion was already taken very seriously. In October they travelled to Kent for the training which was required for overseas service. As the men were Territorials, overseas service was not compulsory, but those who wished to go and fight had to sign the Imperial Service Obligation. Those who did not sign formed the 2nd/9th Battalion and were sent to Blackpool. Those who signed embarked for France on the 12th of March, 1915.

Private Jardine saw action in the Battle of Aubers Ridge in May of 1915 – his battalion was in the third wave of the attack, and further attacks were postponed and then cancelled. The one-day British offensive was considered to be a disaster as no tactical advantage nor ground was won, yet the commanding officer was killed, one of a hundred casualties. On the 26th of August, Private Jardine was sent to collect firewood – as he left his trench he was shot by an enemy sniper. Sadly he died from his injury the following day. He is buried at Chocques Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais in France. Alfred, from Wavertree, Liverpool, was 17 years old.

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