Private Albert John Willie Mercer

© Royston Williamson 2015

Thank you to Jane Anthony for the following research.

Albert John Willie Mercer was the second of the two sons of Thomas and Eliza Mercer to be killed in WW1.

Like his older brother, Charles William Mercer who was killed earlier in the war, he was born in Dorking, the son of carpenter Thomas and Eliza (nee King).

Further information on the Mercer family can be found on Charles Mercers profile.

By 1911 Albert had married Emily Elizabeth Irons and the couple were living at 35 Adelaide Street, St Albans, Hertfordshire. His wife came from the St Albans area.  Albert was working as a piano fitter. The couple had two children; Bessie and Nancy

Albert enlisted at Hackney Baths into the 16th Battalion, Kings Royal Rifle Regiment.  His battalion was a service battalion, and was nicknamed the Church Lads Brigade.

On the day that he was killed; 15th April 1918, his battalion had been heavily involved in the Crucifix Corner area of the trenches, and he was one of several officers and men killed on that day, on what proved to be an abortive attempt to gain ground.

He is commemorated on the Ploegsteere Memorial where more than 11,000 servicemen of the United Kingdom and South African forces are remembered.

The memorial serves the area from Caestre-Dranoutre-Warneton to the north, Haverskerque-Estaires-Fournes to the south, including the towns of Hazebrouck, Merville, Bailleul and Armentieres, the Forest of Nieppe, and Ploegsteert Wood. The original intention had been to erect the memorial in Lille. Most of those commemorated on the memorial did not die in major offensives. Most were killed in the course of the day-to-day trench warfare which characterised this part of the line, or in small scale set engagements, usually carried out in support of the major attacks taking place elsewhere.

Born Dorking, Surrey
Lived St. Albans, Herfordshire
Son of Eliza and the late Thomas Mercer
Husband of Emily Elizabeth Mercer of 16 Percy Road, Watford
Regiment 16th Battalion. King’s Royal Rifle Corps
Number R/34032
Date of Death 15th April 1918
Place of Death Villers-Bretonneux, France
Cause of Death Killed in action
Age 29
Memorial Ploegsteere Memorial, Belgium