William Arthur Albinson, Second Lieutenant, 7th Bn. The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment)
Killed in action 26th April 1918 in France, aged 21
William Arthur Albinson was born on 14 August and baptised on 4 November 1896 at Christ Church, Macclesfield, the son of Mary Ann and William Albinson, a silk steward of 31 Bond St, Macclesfield. In 1911, fourteen-year-old William was living at 15 Charlton St, Macclesfield with his parents and siblings Joseph (37, a photographer), Gertrude (28), and his brother-in-law John Bowler (widower of sister Laura) and his two daughters, Elsie (11) and Gertrude (10).
William was educated at Christ Church School and was later employed as a grocer’s assistant with the Macclesfield Equitable Provident Society (now the Co-operative Society) in West Bond Street, Macclesfield.
William enlisted in Macclesfield in 1916, initially joining the Cheshire Regiment with service number 291250. He served for some time at Oswestry before being gazetted as a Second-Lieutenant in the Royal West Surrey Regiment on 17 December 1917. He was drafted to France on 17 April 1918 and was reported missing on 26 April 1918. He was later assumed to have been killed in action on that date.
On 17 May 1918, the Macclesfield Times reported that 2/Lt Albinson was missing:
MISSING – Second-Lieut William Arthur Albinson, son of Mr W Albinson, 15 Charlton St, off Crompton Rd, Macclesfield, is reported missing in France since April 26th. The information is contained in a letter from the Captain, and Mr Albinson has written for further particulars regarding his son. Lieut Albinson is 21 years of age and was educated at Christ Church School. He was connected with the church, and prior to joining the Army was employed at the West Bond Street branch of the Equitable Provident Society. Lieut. Albinson enlisted in June 1915, as a private, and for a considerable period was stationed at Oswestry. He trained for a commission and was gazetted Second-Lieutenant about six weeks before going to France. A sad feature is that Lieut Albinson was reported missing within nine days of leaving England for the front.
The Macclesfield Courier reported on 26 July 1919 that 2/Lt Albinson’s death had been presumed:
SECOND-LIEUT ALBINSON’S DEATH PRESUMED – TEN DAYS IN FRANCE – Mr Wm Albinson, of 15 Charlton Street, has recently received information that his son, Second-Lieutenant W A Albinson, is believed to be dead by the War Office in consequence of no news having been received of him since April 20th 1918. Lieutenant Albinson enlisted as a private in the Cheshire Regiment in June, 1915, and went to Park Hall Camp for his training, being promoted to corporal whilst there. He went in for a commission, and was gazetted second-lieutenant in the 3rd (Queen’s) West Surrey Regiment on December 17th, 1917. He proceeded to France in April 1918, but had only been on active service for 10 days when he was reported missing, and his death is now presumed. Lieutenant Albinson was only 21 years of age, but was well-known in the town, having received his education at the Grammar School. He is a brother of Mr J Albinson, photographer, Roe Street.
2/Lt William Albinson is buried at Hangard Wood British Cemetery, France, in grave ref. I. C. 13. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for 2/Lt William Albinson, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
In Macclesfield, 2/Lt William Albinson is commemorated on the Park Green, Town Hall, St Michael’s Church and Christ Church School war memorials. The floral tributes laid when the Macclesfield Park Green War Memorial was unveiled on 21st September 1921 included one with the words “In loving remembrance of Second-Lieut. W. A. Albinson – Fondly remembered by father, Gertie and Eddie.”
Cheshire Parish Baptism Registers (Find My Past): Christ Church, Macclesfield
Census (England & Wales): 1891, 1901, 1911
Soldiers Died in the Great War (Find My Past)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Lives of the First World War website
Macclesfield Times: 17 May 1918, 23 September 1921
Macclesfield Courier: 26 July 1919, 24 September 1921 (list of floral tributes)