Queen's South Africa Medal with clasps 'Cape Colony', 'Orange Free State', 'South Africa 1901', 'South Africa 1902'
Albert was born in around June 1881 in Normanton, near Wakefield in West Yorkshire. We don't know anything about his family or his early life. He was a member of the Church of England.
By the time he was 19 Albert lived in Beswick, Manchester. He worked as a labourer for the Manchester Brick and Building Company, but he must have wanted more from life because on the 20th April 1901 he joined the 5th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment in nearby Ashton-under-Lyne. This was a unit of the Militia, so Albert would train as a soldier for a short period every year, but spend the rest of the time living as a civilian.
When he enlisted Albert was 5 feet 4 5/8 inches tall and weighed 115 pounds. He had a 'fresh' complexion, 'greenish grey' eyes and brown hair. He was given the service number 7646.
The Boer War had been going on in South Africa since October 1899. It had not begun well for the British and they were soon sending all the soldiers they could to the country. Albert and the 5th Battalion were called into service on the 6th May 1901 and sent to Aldershot in Hampshire to train. They sailed to South Africa on the 17th June and arrived on the 10th July.
Albert and the 5th Battalion saw little fighting, and spent most of their time manning blockhouses and the fences between them. These were intended to restrict the movements of Boer guerrillas, and force them to fight the British. It was a successful strategy and the war ended on the 31st May. He returned to the UK and was demobilised on the 28th July 1902.
Albert remained a member of the 5th Battalion. He attended the annual training periods in 1904, 1905 and 1906 before being discharged at the end of his 6 year period of service.
The rest of Albert's life is a mystery. His medal was donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in August 1949.