Museum of the Manchester Regiment
The Men Behind the Medals

Alfred Charlesworth

Alfred Charlesworth :

Alfred Charlesworth : Territorial Force Efficiency Medal

Territorial Force Efficiency Medal

Alfred was born in May 1884 in Prestwich, Manchester. He was named after his father, and his mother was called Emily. He had 3 older siblings: James, Martha and Ezra; and 4 younger: Walter, George, Edwin and Emily. The family had lost one other child.

In 1891 and 1901 the family lived at 31 Great George Road in Miles Platting, Manchester. Alfred senior was a beer seller in 1891 and in 1901 he appears to have been employed at an iron plate works. Alfred junior had begun to work as an iron trunk maker.

On the 14th March 1901 Alfred joined the 5th (Ardwick) Volunteer Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. This was a unit of the Volunteer Force so Alfred trained as a soldier during weekends and continued his civilian career during the week.

The Volunteer Force was converted into the Territorial Force in April 1908. The 5th Volunteer Battalion became the 8th (Ardwick) Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. Alfred decided to continue serving, and was enlisted with the service number 182 on the 2nd April. By this time he had reached the rank of Sergeant.

As well as weekend training Volunteers and now Territorials went on an annual training camp, usually 2 weeks long. We know Alfred attended every camp between 1909 and 1912.

On the 16th June 1909 Alfred married Sarah Aspinall at St Luke's Church in Miles Platting. Their daughter Ada was born on the 10th May 1910. The family made their home at 32 Corelli Street in Miles Platting, although in 1911 Alfred was a commercial traveller so he may have been away from there quite often. By 1914 he had become a tin-plate worker.

Alfred's Territorial Force Efficiency Medal was awarded for 12 year's service in the Volunteers or the Territorials. This suggests he was awarded it in 1913.

When the First World War broke out in August 1914 Alfred and the rest of the Territorial Force were called up for service. They sailed to Egypt on the 9th September. Alfred will have taken part in the occupation of Cyprus, which took place between the 20th October and the 5th November. This was carried out without fighting. He returned to Egypt on the 20th January 1915.

After more training Alfred took part in the invasion of Gallipoli. He was a member of A Company. The 8th Battalion landed there on the 6th May 1915. They spent time in the front lines, and took casualties. Alfred was one of them. He was shot in the left ankle on the 25th May. He was treated in hospital, but didn't recover so on the 20th July he was returned to the UK.

On the 3rd February 1916 Alfred went into the 2nd Western General Hospital in Manchester to be treated for adenoids. He was discharged on the 28th and ordered to report to the Administrative Centre at Ardwick. His service ended on the 1st April 1916. At this point in the war members of the Territorial Force who were 'time expired' could freely choose whether to re-enlist or leave the Army. Alfred chose to return to civilian life.

Conscription had been introduced for single men in January 1916 and would be extended to married men in May. At the same time the law was changed to prevent Territorial Force soldiers from leaving the Army in the way Alfred had. Alfred was now liable to be conscripted back into the Army and on the 29th July 1916 he was.

Alfred first rejoined the 8th Battalion, but on the 4th August he was assigned to the 43rd Provisional Battalion of the Territorial Force. He was given a new service number: 6063. When he re-enlisted Alfred was 5 feet 9 1/2 inches tall. He had a 'sallow' complexion, brown eyes and dark hair.

Provisional Battalions were made up of members of the Territorial Force who were medically unfit to serve overseas. They were used to patrol the British coast and would have been called on if Britain had been invaded.

Even this service seems to have been too much for Alfred. He went before a medical board on the 14th September 1916. Due to his ankle wound he was suffering from 'gradually increased sciatica on his left side, and lumbago. Now a cripple. Scars of bullet wound and perforating left ankle joint causing partial ankylosis of joint'. Ankylosis is a stiffness or reduction of movement.

Alfred was discharged from the Army as 'No longer physically fit for war service' on the 29th September. He was awarded a pension of 16 shillings and 6 pence (16/6) for 5 years, and a Silver War Badge, serial number 96846, to show that he had been honourably discharged.

We don't know what Alfred did after this. We don't believe he and Sarah had any more children. By the end of his life they lived at 99 Whitby Road in Fallowfield, Manchester. Alfred died on the 27th May 1955. He was 71 years old.

As well as his Territorial Force Efficiency Medal, Alfred was also awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal for his Army service.

Museum of the Manchester Regiment
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Heritage Wharf
Ashton-under-Lyne
OL7 0QA

Telephone: 0161 343 2878
Email: Portland.Basin@tameside.gov.uk
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Trustees of the Manchester Regiment Museum & Archive and Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council