Corporal Albert Ambrose of the 1st/5th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment was born in 1887 at Warboys in Huntingdonshire, and lived at Edith Weston with his wife Fanny. He was a labourer and joined up on 5 September 1914, responding to Lord Kitchener's appeal and enlisting at Luton. He went abroad the following February, and fought in all the battles in France and Belgium in which the 5th Leicestershires participated, until his death on the 8 July 1916. The battalion had been withdrawn from the Somme after the disastrous first day at Gommecourt and was sent for rest and recuperation near Arras. In his book The Fifth Leicestershire, Captain J D Hills wrote: "During this first month our casualties 'holding the line' were very slight, though we lost three good NCOs through shell fire...Corporal Ambrose was killed outright near Hannescamps." The battalion war diary records he was killed by a whizz-bang (a small, high velocity German shell). In a letter to his widow, Lieutenant Colonel C H Jones, commanding 5th Leicestershires said: "I have the very highest opinion of your husband, and he was liked and admired by all. Lately he had done especially good work and I had his name on my list for special mention, if not tangible reward, when the time came." Other officers also wrote highly of him, Lieutenant A S Jelley observing: "I can say without the least exaggeration that he was the most fearless man under my command, and assisted me very greatly in the attack on July 1 [first day of the Battle of the Somme] when we were almost constantly working side by side." Albert left a widow and child. He is buried in Hannescamps New Military Cemetery, grave A.14, and is remembered on Edith Weston's war memorial.
See where all our Rutland soldiers died during the Battle of the Somme on our interactive map.
With thanks to Shirley Darling, Albert's grand-daughter, for the photographs below which show Albert's cutlery set, Albert with fellow soldiers (he is bottom left), his "widow's penny" sent to his wife as a token of his sacrifice and his original grave marker.
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