Thank you to Jane Anthony and Patricia Brazier for the following research
Private Alfred James was born in March 1878, one of nine children born to Edwin and Sarah Bridger. Edwin was born in Forest Green and Sarah in Billingshurst.
In the 1881 Census the family are living at Abinger Bottom; Alfred’s father is a General Labourer. Alfred James is three years old and has two sisters, Alice aged nine and Ada aged six. He also has two brothers, Edwin aged seven and William aged one. They were all born in Abinger.
The family are still living at Abinger Bottom in 1891, with Alfred now an Agricultural Labourer. He has another sister, Frances, aged nine and three more brothers, Arthur aged six, Percy aged eleven and Albert aged one.
In 1901, the family lived at King Georges Hill, Wotton.
The Bridger girls worked as maids, and the Bridger boys in manual labour. Alfred James, who was probably known by his second name, James, was the second son in the family.
In 1905, James had married Annie Elms who came from Wotton in Dorking In 1911, the couple were living in The Aldermore Cottages, Holmbury St Mary where James was employed as a domestic gardener. The couple had no children.
In July 1917 his battalion were near Arras in Northern France and were attempting to regain the North Trench near Plouvain, which had recently been occupied by the enemy. Alfred died on 17th July 1917. He was 39 years old. On the same day, five other ranks and one officer were also killed. He is buried at the Vis-en-Artois British Cemetery, Harcourt. His wife Annie requested that “Peace Perfect Peace with loved one far away in Jesus keeping he is safe” to be put on his headstone.
Annie did not remarry but after his death she moved to Hurtbank Cottages in Holmbury St. Mary and is still living there is 1939. She died in 1944.
Alfred was not the only member of his family to be killed in the war, his younger brother Percy was killed on 21st September 1918. Two other brothers also fought in the war.
Born Abinger, Surrey
Lived Holmbury St. Mary, Surrey
Son of Edwin and Sarah Bridger, King George’s Hill, Wotton
Husband of Annie Elms of Wotton
Regiment 6th Battalion. Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment
Date of Death 7th July 1917
Place of Death France
Cause of Death Killed in Action
Cemetery Vis-en-Artois, France