Sergeant 15/407 1st Leeds Pals

1874: Charles Guttridge, a boot and shoe maker and repairer from Loughborough and Mary Jane Jeffgate were apparently married in Leeds in June of this year.  They had five children, though one died young. The survivors were Charles Henry, b.1871, John, b.1873, Emily, b.1875, and finally Albert. (Find My Past 2015)

1891: Albert Guttridge was born in Leeds in September. The gap of 16 years between Emily and Albert may possibly be accounted for by the death of another child. (Free BMD 2015)

On the 1871 Census they were living at 12 Atkinson Buildings, in 1881 at 5 St James Street, in 1891 at 5 Upper Elmwood Street, and in 1901 at 24 Royal Park Grove, where they remained at least up to Albert’s death. Interestingly on the 1911 Census Charles wrote the surname as ‘Gutteridge’, while on all the previous returns, and on such army records as survive it is spelled ‘Guttridge’. Albert’s occupation was given as lithographer, and he worked for Russell’s Printers in Leeds. (Find My Past 2015)

1911: Albert was a celebrated Yorkshire athlete and first came to prominence in 1911, when he won the Yorkshire Junior Championship at Queen’s Park, Castleford, beating a field of over 200 runners. He subsequently had success at Huddersfield, Brighouse, Malton, Bury and Hellifield, and became captain of the Leeds Athletic Club Harriers. (Milner p.166)

1914: When war broke out Albert was 22, and he was one of the first to join up, as is shown by his army number. He enlisted on 5th September 1914, and was attested on 11th September. He would then have done his basic training at Colsterdale before sailing with the battalion for Egypt,

1915: where he landed on 22nd December. He had been promoted to sergeant, and was the platoon sergeant for No.2 Platoon, A Company, but according to his medal card had been reduced to the rank of corporal

1916: on 31st January for unspecified misconduct. Nevertheless he was buried as a sergeant, so presumably he was made up again. After Egypt he was posted to France ready for the Battle of the Somme.

Albert was one of the many casualties of the first day of the Somme. He was badly wounded when an explosion blew him out of one shell-hole into another. He suffered a broken leg and five other wounds, and was evacuated back to England. He was treated at Bethnal Green Hospital in London, where his leg was amputated. But in spite of everything he died on 30th July 1916. (Milner p.152) His body was brought from London to Leeds and on 2nd August 1916 he was buried in Lawnswood Cemetery with full military honours. He is commemorated there on the War Memorial.

He was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. The rest of his service records have unfortunately not survived. (Ancestry 2015)

Researcher: Peter Taylor

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