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CORPORAL ALFRED CHARLES STONHOLD,
‘K’ Supply Company, Army Service Corps.
Died 15th April 1917, aged 42
Alfred Charles Stonhold had served in France earlier in the war, where he sustained wounds which led to a long period of convalescence. When fully recovered he was transferred from the infantry to the A.S.C. On the way to the East his transport was torpedoed in the Mediterranean where he lost his life. He left a wife, Ellen, and three young children at their home in 28 Asmuns Place. There is no known grave but he is remembered in Alexandria on the Chatby Memorial where almost 1,000 men who died at sea in hospital ships or transport ships are commemorated. His name also appears in the Free Church where the family were early members and on the Golders Green memorial.
My father's father, Alfred Charles Stonhold, died on 15th April 1917. He served in the Royal Army Service Corps and was drowned at sea when the ship he was on was torpedoed and sunk east of Malta. As Alfred has no known grave he is commemorated on the Chatby War Memorial in Alexandria, Egypt, as well as on the Golders Green War Memorial.
Alfred married Ellen Emma Sanders in 1901. They had three sons, Herbert, Charles and Leslie (my father). The family were one of the earliest Suburb residents living at 28 Asmuns Place in 1911. Alfred enlisted on 8th August 1914, only days after the outbreak of the first World War. He was in the 17/City of London Regiment and was posted to Malta from September 1914 to February 1915. He then joined the Expeditionary Force to France until he was wounded in May 1915 and had to return to the UK to recover from his injuries. On 2nd April 1917 he was declared fit to return to active service and joined the Expeditionary Force to Mesopotamia. He was sailing on HT 'Cameronia' when it was torpedoed and sunk on 15 April 1917 east of Malta, with the loss of 127 officers and men of the Commonwealth forces. Alfred was 42 and left a widow and three sons. His name is on the Chatby War Memorial at Alexandria. A few years ago Jenny and I were on a cruise ship which stopped for the day at Alexandria. We tried to visit the Memorial but sadly it was dosed as it was Friday - the Muslim Holy Day. We visited the Second World War El Alamein battlefield site and museum instead. One day we hope to return to honour Alfred. My grandfather was a member of the Free Church and the first Minister of the Church, Dr Rushbrooke, wrote this letter to be read out at a Church Meeting on 29th April 1917:
'My dear Friends,
The news of heavy losses has come upon us during the past week. Two of our best loved and brightest young men Leslie Charles and Kenneth Oliver have given their lives for their country. Our hearts are sad - not for them but for those who sorely miss them. And one of our church members has died for his country whose loss means still more, A.C. Stonhold whose wife and three children needed him so much and awaited his return. I cannot join In our prayer in the Church for the bereaved today, for I am helping the Church of a friend who is serving as a chaplain at the front, but in spirit I shall participate in your intercession to God. Next Sunday evening we will give to our service the character of a memorial service for our brothers called home. May our God and Father multiply His comforts to our dear friends in their sorrow!
Note: Leslie Charles and Kenneth Oliver names are listed above and below my grandfather’s name on the Free Church War memorial.