Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1915, Second Lieutenant Alan Swabey, 3rd Battalion, Prince Albert’s (Somerset Light Infantry), attached to 1st Battalion, the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, was killed in action near Zonnebeke during the Second Battle of Ypres.
Second Lieutenant Swabey was the son of a solicitor and grandson of the Vicar of St. Thomas in Exeter. His great-grandfather, Captain William Swabey, the Royal Horse Artillery, had fought under Wellington at Waterloo. He attended Sherborne Preparatory School, during which time he was a member of the Officers’ Training Corps. In February of 1914 he received his commission.
On the 26th of October, 1914, Second Lieutenant Swabey’s battalion proceeded to France. He ws attached to 2nd Battalion, Durham Light Infantry in the trenches until February, 1915, when he was then transferred to 1st Battalion, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. It was during the fighting near Zonnebeke that he lost his life. Second Lieutenant Swabey has no known grave and is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing at Ypres.
A senior officer wrote to his parents: “He is a severe loss to us, both as an officer and a comrade. His bright and cheery disposition had endeared him to all, both officers and men. As an officer he was one of the most capable for his age I have ever met”.
Alan, from Misterton in Somerset, was 20 years old.