Service number: 12640 | Rank: Private | Regiment: Norfolk Regiment
Killed in action, October 13, 1915, in Flanders.
Remembered at LOOS MEMORIAL, Pas de Calais, France.
WHAT I KNOW ABOUT ALBERT …
Albert, born in March 1892, became the fourth Brandon casualty of the 7th Battalion Norfolk Regiment in eleven days. Having enlisted in Brandon during the first month of war he became part of Kitchener’s Army and went over to France on 30th may 1915. Evidence of what happened is logged in the 7th Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment’s war diary.
In the days leading up to Albert’s death the area was under constant enemy shelling and even Albert’s billets were not spared the shelling and then on the 12th October the men marched out to the front line and prepared for an attack on the enemy trenches. At 1.45pm on the 13th October the infantry of the 7th Battalion, under a cover of smoke, climbed onto their trench ladders in anticipation of “going over the top”. Fifteen minutes later, at 2pm, the men went over the top but unfortunately the smoke had already cleared and the enemy could clearly be seen manning their positions opposite them. For sure the enemy could see the Norfolks. A German machine gun was quick to open up on them and mowed down a whole squad in one sweep. Another line of Norfolks then took their place and got out of the trench only to suffer the same fate. However some men did make it to the enemy trench and managed to get a foothold but it was sadly the case that most barely travelled 20 yards before they were mown down by machine gunfire. In that single attack the losses to the battalion were 70 killed, 203 wounded and 160 missing, and in a little over twelve hours the battalion withdrew from the front line.
Albert was not amongst the survivors who had had withdrawn and the Army could only officially state he was “missing”. It was too dangerous to go back to the front line to confirm if men were dead or otherwise. Albert’s parents, William and Rose, who lived at 117 Thetford Road, were informed he was missing and they became desperate for news. Their concern was compounded by the fact that news was filtering into the town about the other Brandon men who had been killed or injured while seeing action with the 7th Norfolks. On November 4th William wrote to the Army in an attempt to find some details about his son.
“May I trouble you to make enquires in reference to my son Lance Corporal Albert Royal who is with the 7th Norfolk Regiment in France. I have not heard anything from him since October 8th. I fear very much that something has befallen him, as I believe that he was with his regiment when they made a charge about the 13th of October. If you can give me any tidings of him I shall be very grateful to you.”
Four days later they received confirmation that he had been killed in action. It appears that Albert died in the same attack as Walter Talbot and was a victim of the German machine gun. As far as Brandon was concerned he was also the last from the town to be killed during 1915.