Worcestershire. 23 April 1917

Alfred Willetts was the son of James and Eliza Willetts of 151 Beecher Street, Cradley, and later of Colley Gate. He attended Cradley C of E School and in 1901 he was an apprentice to an iron moulder. He was a well known local figure as a member of the Colley Gate United Methodist chapel, of Two Gates Men's Own and Two Gates Ragged School. He enlisted in the Worcesters in about 1909 and went to India with the 4th Battalion. They were stationed in Burma at the outbreak of war and returned to England in early 1915 en route for the Gallipoli campaign. In the course of the fighting on the peninsula he was wounded in the back when bringing in a wounded soldier. The Worcesters moved to the Western Front in 1916 and were involved in the first day of the Battle of the Somme at Beaumont Hamel and in October at Guedecourt. In April 1917 they came back to the front line for the Battle of Arras. They were in reserve for the opening phases on the 9th and 14th April but were in the front line on the 23rd for the attack on Infantry Hill, close to Monchy-le-Preux. The hill was taken but holding off the strong German counter-attacks resulted in heavy casualties. Sergeant Alfred Willetts was seriously wounded by fragments of a shell and was bandaged up by one of his chums who had been with him since their days in Burma. He was taken under fire to a trench where he died. He is commemorated on the Arras, Cradley, Halesowen and Cradley C of E School Memorials.

Commemorated at:

Halesowen St. John

Halesowen St. John

ST JOHN THE BAPTIST CHURCH,High St,Halesowen,Dudley,West Midlands,B63 3BB,England, B63 3BB

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