Alfred George Easdell
Alfred George Easdell was born during the summer of 1890 in Ardleigh, the son of James and Lydia Easdell. James was an Agricultural Labourer born in Ardleigh who married Lydia Simmons (originally from Chislehurst in Kent) in 1882 or 1883. The Easdell family lived at Park Corner in Ardleigh before moving to Meadow Cottage in Little Bromley at some point between 1901 and 1903.
Alfred joined the Army as a Regular prior to April 1911. In fact, the Census taken at that date shows him not only as a Gunner in the Royal Field Artillery, but also as a patient at a Military Hospital near Portsmouth.
Alfred had twelve siblings, one of which - his elder brother Arthur - had joined the Royal Field Artillery (RFA) a short time before him. It may have been this that prompted Alfred to select that same regiment when he enlisted. For some unknown reason, both brothers joined up using the surname of Esdell, and not Easdell.
Alfred disembarked in France at the port of Le Havre on 6th November 1914, as part of the 45th Brigade, RFA. Nine days after entering France they were in action, south of the town of Armentieres.
In the next two years, the Brigade saw action at various locations on the Western Front, including involvement in the battles of Neuve Chapelle, Aubers Ridge, and the early stages of the Battle of the Somme.
They returned to the Somme at the end of October 1916, in the later stages of the Battle. By this time Alfred was serving as a Corporal in the Brigade’s 1st Battery: A Battery at full strength being made up of six guns, and approximately 200 men.
The 1st Battery were positioned approximately midway between the villages of Ginchy and Morval, from where their 18 pounder guns could support the infantry in the front line, less than two miles away.
Alfred was killed in action on 21st November 1916, two days after the official end of the Battle of the Somme. The Unit’s War Diary for that day simply states “Quiet Day. Enemy artillery inactive. Casualties - 1st Battery: 1 Corporal and 1 Gunner killed. 2 horses killed.”
Alfred Easdell was 26 years old. He is commemorated on Face A of Pier 1 on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.
Peter Herring tells me that Meadow Cottage was on the Little Bromley side of the Brook in Barlon Road. George Notley and his sister lived there and their father worked at Little Bromley Hall, so the Easdells probably did as well. The cottage was later demolished and there is a new house there. If you have contact with any of the Notley family I would be glad to hear. Hugh Frostick.