Tag Archives: Clay Cross

Albert Heath; the soldier photographer

Albert Heath was born in Clay Cross in January 1880 and was a photographer by trade residing on Thanet Street. He married Mary Alice (nee Osbourne) in 1907 and they had at least one child; George Albert who was born in July 1910.

Albert enlisted into the 2nd Volunteer Battalion Sherwood Foresters in March 1904 and re-enlisted into the 6th Battalion Notts and Derby Regiment on the 1st April 1908. He attended all the Annual Campus between 1908 and 1914.

I have 8 Albert Heath original postcards, which appear to cluster into 3 distinct groupings based on the locations/dates and/or the style of backing.

1908-09: Scarborough Camp

Note: Although not dated, and there is no clue from the background where these two shots were taken, it is likely to have been at one of the early Camps 1908-1909 (or 1910?) because the men are wearing both the old Volunteer (cloth) and new Territorial (dress) shoulder badges (see below). Interestingly these also appear to be consecutive cards (#52 and #53).

1912: Llanfarian, Abermaide, Aberystwyth Camp

The background terrain identifies this as the 1912 Camp near Aberystwyth and once again all three cards have the same backing.

1913: The Clumber Camp

The second card bears a 1913 stamp and both share the same background.

1914: The 46th North Midland Divisional Cycling Company

On November 1914 the 46th North Midland Cyclist Company was established and Commanded by Captain BH Winder. Albert transferred to this Company and accompanied them to France on the 28th February 1915.

Captain Basil Hawthorne Winder

In June 1915 Albert ‘contracted sugar diabetes’ which at the time was not deemed ‘the result of service doubful if aggravated”

Albert was discharged on ‘Termination of Engagement’ on the 15th April 1916 having served 8 years and 7 days with the Colours.

However, War service did not leave Albert unscathed and in June 1917 Mary applied for an increase in her husband’s war pension because he was an out patient in Derby Infirmary. In August 1917 this was granted because the medical board agreed that ‘this man’s condition may be regarded aggravated by Service since declaration of War’.

Arthur died on the 17th August 1917. His son George Albert died in February 1926.

On this day 27th October 1915

No record in the War Diary [WO/95/2694]

Oct 27th. Inspn by Colonel 10-30 a.m. Set off at 1 p.m. to Hesdigneul for rehearsal of review. Rain at intervals, & dirty under foot. Passed aerodrome.

[3289 Pte George William Beardsley]

1294 Pte George Howe & 1409 Pte George Smart

Returned to England on this day

1294 HoweGeorge Howe was an apprentice pattern maker from Clay Cross when he enlisted into the 6th Battalion in November 1910 and originally served with “G” Clay Cross Company. He arrived in France with the II Reinforcement in June 1915. He returned to England on the SS Mona Queen for discharge as ‘time expired’


1409 SmartGeorge Smart was an 18 year old miner from Clay Cross when he enlisted into the 6th Battalion in May 1911 and served with “G” Clay Cross Company. He arrived in France with the 46th Division in February 1915 and transferred to England with otitis media (inflammation of the middle ear). George later returned to France with the 6th Reinforcement in March 1916.


On this day 6th July 1915

No record in the War Diary [WO/95/2694]


1410 White

1410 L/Cpl Pete White a miner at Alma Colliery in Clay Cross was wounded by shrapnel in the abdomen. He transferred to the 3rd British Red Cross Hospital, but died of blood poisoning nearly 6-weeks later and was buried in Abbeville. Picture courtesy of Peter Hoben.


On this day 27th February 1915

27.2.15 (Havre): The Battalion (less 15 & 16 Platoons under Captain Hills) entrained at GARE MARITIME in early morning.



Hills LG 1914Captain Raleigh Hills, 2nd in Command of “D” Company. Born in 1880 at Leamington in Warwickshire he died at Bakewell in 1937.


Left Havre at 5 p.m. for a place unknown 24 hours train ride and there billeted in an old barn, 16 miles from firing line, at this place we have to walk about with rifles loaded. On the retreat from Mons the Germans landed as far as here. Steenvorde is the name of the place.

[L/Cpl 1415 Alfred Afford]

We were up at 2-30 and marched on to the dock station. B Company were the fatigue party for the loading. There was only cattle trucks for the men. The whole battalion and transport were on one train. We left Havre at 6-00 a.m. The railway went through the streets at Havre. There was forty three men in the truck that I was in. The train was rather slow, in same places men could jump off the train, run after it and jump in again. At night when we tried to sleep we were in a very cramped condition. On our way we passed Rouen and I saw Gartsides by the side of the line, it made me wish that I was going there instead of where I was.

[2381 Pte. George Potter Bagshaw]