Alfred Miles was born on 30 June 1893 in Selston in Nottinghamshire, the son of Harry and Nancy Miles. The family came to Belmesthorpe in 1900, and Alfred was educated at Ryhall and Stamford Grammar School. He was apprenticed in June 1909, to Messrs. Blackstone's in Stamford as an ironmoulder, and completed his apprenticeship on 30 June 1914. He enlisted on 4 September, a month after the war broke out. Ten other Rutland men who enlisted that day would die in the First World War. Alfred trained at Tulworth Bovington, in Dorset, and Winchester. He went to the front on 14 July 1915, and took part in the trench warfare then being carried on. He was killed on 15 February, 1916. A former classics master at Stamford Grammar School, Lieutenant A W S Cowie, went to try and help Alfred and recalled what happened: "The 7th Lincolnshires had been holding what was known as the International Trench, and were relieved by another regiment. A few hours later the trench was captured by the Germans, mainly through the explosion of mines, and the 7th Lincolnshires were recalled to retake the trench. After fierce fighting they were so reduced in number that it was necessary to send for reinforcements, and Private Miles was sent with a message to headquarters. In order to get there as quickly as possible, it was necessary to go along a trench which was dominated by the enemy posted on a high embankment called The Bluff, on which were a number of snipers who could fire straight into the trench. Private Miles kept steadily on his way until he came to a part of the trench which had been blown in by the terrific bombardment, and it was whilst climbing over the debris which filled the trench that he was shot, dying later in the day." Lieutenant Cowie was himself shot in the shoulder while with Alfred, but managed to get to a dressing station. Beyond the attempt of Lieutenant Cowie, Alfred's comrades were unable to come to his aid owing to the sniper fire. When a party could eventually recover the body, they had to bury him in the trench where he fell. Therefore he has no known grave and is remembered on Panel 21 of the Menin Gate in Ypres, and on the war memorial at Ryhall. He was 22.
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