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Albert Wheeler

Rank: Private

Lifetime: 1897-1917

Reference: 19342

Private Albert Wheeler of the Northamptonshire Regiment was killed on the very first day of the Battle of Passchendaele on 31 July 1917 (also known as the Third Battle of Ypres).

The Allied assault was launched in the early hours of that day. The aim of the campaign was to try to capture the German submarine bases in Belgium thereby alleviating Allied shipping losses. Sir Douglas Haig hoped to build on Allied successes in June 1917 resulting from the massive explosions at the Messines Ridge before the threatened Russian withdrawal would allow the Germans to deploy reinforcements from the Eastern Front.

Born in Reading, his parents must subsequently have moved to Kingston as he attended New Town Board School, Reading and then St Luke’s School, Kingston. Afterwards he was employed by Messrs Tough and Henderson, Blackfriars, for whom his father had also worked for some years as a lighterman.

According to his obituary in The Surrey Comet dated 15 September 1917, he lived at 20 High St, Hampton Wick and initially joined the Royal Army Medical Corps at the beginning of the war. However, he was subsequently transferred to the Northamptonshire Regiment.

His obituary states that he had been “through much of the chief fighting” and was wounded once but had only been granted one period of leave in January 1916.

He has no known grave but is commemorated on the Menin Gate at Ypres.

The first phase of this Project is to gather information about the men commemorated on the Hampton Wick War Memorial who fought in the Great War, also known as World War I, WWI or the First World War.

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