Corporal Albert George Coleman

© Royston Williamson 2015

Thank you to Patricia Brazier for the following research.

Albert was baptised on 12th April 1885 at St Peter’s Church in Woking.  His parents are Henry; a policeman and Alice.

In the 1891 census the family are living at the Police station in Guildford Road Woking. Albert has an older brother Henry William, who is 8 years old, and two younger brothers Francis aged 3 and Percy aged 1.

In the 1901 census the family have moved to the Police station in High Street, Frimley.  Henry, Albert’s father is now a Superintendent with Surrey Police. Albert is a railway porter and his brother Francis is an assistant Oilman.  There are also three more children; Leonard aged 9, Alice aged 7 and Mabel aged 5.

In 1908 Albert was a Witness at his brother Henry’s marriage to Lily Toft, in Guildford.

In the 1911 Census Albert has left home and is now a Police Constable. He is living at the Police Station in Petworth, Sussex. His parents are now living in Walton-on-Thames.  Leonard and Alice are still at home and there is one more daughter, Ellen Minnie aged 7.

On the 30th November 1915, Albert joined the East Surrey Regiment 4th Battalion.  His occupation at the time was a milkman.  He was 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighed 172 pounds. On 21 October 1917, Albert was promoted to Lance Sergeant and was transferred to the 1st Battalion.

By 1916 his father, Henry, was a Superintendant of the Police in Dorking.

A notice in The Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser of 4th May 1918 says the following:-

“Albert Coleman had a remarkable escape; a Shell splinter knocked off the brim of his helmet, the missile passed down his back and tore a hole in his great coat without causing a flesh wound.  A piece of the same shell also cut his rifle in two.  Though suffering from shock Sergeant Coleman is still doing his duty on the lines of communication.”

This notice also mentions that Albert’s brother Frank of the Liverpool Regiment is in hospital in Glasgow suffering from shrapnel wound to his left side.

Albert died on 21st May 1918, an announcement in The Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser of Friday 1st June reads as follows:-

“It appears that in the early morning of May 20th he took part in an attack, carried out by his battalion when his platoon officer was disabled he took command of the platoon and led it to the objective and carried out the consolidation.  At dawn the following morning he was shot through the head by a rifle bullet, his death was instantaneous.  His captain in sending sympathy to his parents says Sergeant Coleman was a valued NCO and his loss is greatly felt by officers, NCO’s and men.

Albert is buried at the Tannay British Cemetery at Thienes: Plot 2, Row F. His parents requested that “Trust in God” be put on his Headstone.

Three of Albert’s brothers also served in the army, Percy was a Lance Corporal with the Royal Regiment, he died in March 1916. Francis served in the Liverpool Regiment and Leonard served with the East Surrey Regiment, they both survived.

Born Woking, Surrey
Son of Henry and Alice Coleman
Regiment 1st Battalion. East Surrey Regiment
Number 16281
Date of Death 21st May 1918
Place of Death France
Cause of Death Killed in Action
Age 38
Cemetery Tannay British Cemetery, Thienes, France