Watkins Family of Ruardean

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My Grandfather Albert W. Watkins
Born 1892 Ruardean, Gloucestershire, England

Pte. Albert W. Watkins (1892 - 1966)
1st Hereford Regiment number 2543
Enlisted: 5 October 1914
Discharged: 14 December 1918

In the first World War served with the 1st Hereford Regiment. Fought in the Gallipoli (Dardanelles) campaign. After withdrawal from Gallipoli he was severely wounded at the battle of Gaza, Palestine. Mistaken as being dead, his body was placed on a pile of dead soldiers awaiting to be carried away. Fortunately his best friend Stan Duberley discovered him alive and carried him away to the casualty base. A bullet had entered his jaw and came out at the back of his head.

Repatriated to England and when his health was regained he returned to Ruardean his place of birth. Ruardean is a small village in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, very close to the borders of the counties of Herefordshire, England and Monmouthshire, Wales. Albert was a coalminer there, the same as his father Joseph had been. Then in the depression years of the 1930's after being out of work for 5 years moved north to the industrial city of Manchester with his family in the search of a different type of work. There he obtained employment with the General Post Office (GPO), who he stayed with until the end of his working years.

Even though many years have gone by since the battle at Gaza, I thought it appropriate to thank Stan Duberley and the medical staff involved. If it was not for them, I would not have been here to write the above message.

A few notes about the 1st Hereford Regiment, taken
from the back of an old address book of Alberts.

August 9th 1915
Landing of 1/1 Herefords at Suvla Bay. Colonel Dredge in Command. Adjutant Knott, Major Carliss, Major Green.

August 11th 1915
Retreat from Chocolate Hill, Gallipoli. Major Carliss killed. Hill set on fire by shrapnel

November 25th 1915
Heavy floods at Dardenelles. Many troops die of exposure after a number of very hot days

March 17th 1917
1st Herefords in battle of Gaza Palestine, had to retire after many casualties. Retaken next day, by British forces, 1st Herefords amongst them.

(Photo supplied by David Watkins)


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