Alexandra,  Princess   of   Wales's   Own

200702 Colour Serjeant Alfred Percy Wilson. MSM.

Colour Sgt Alfred wilson with son Alfred and Daughter Muriel.

Geoff King of Pickering, N Yorks, a Member of the Ryedale Family History Group, has been researching the men whose names appear on the War Memorials of that area.
A webpage on their publications can be found Here.
Geoff has kindly contributed to this website 3 photographs of 4th and 5th Yorks Battalion lads and the following details about Alfred Percy Wilson.
Thanks also to Ray Wilkins of Middlesbrough for further information and corrections.

Alfred died of Pneumonia at the Voluntary Aid Detachment Hospital, Hornsea on the 2nd December 1918, aged 34. Influenza is also mentioned on his Death Certificate, so he may have been a victim of the World Pandemic that started in this year and eventually killed many millions.
His Medal Card shows the award of the Meritorious Service Medal, but no others, so it seems that he never went abroad, but did some extremely valued work with the 4th Reserve Battalion in the UK, who were involved with training recruits and Home Defence.

Alfred was born in 1884 in that North Yorkshire village which is famed as the birthplace of Captain James Cook RN, Great Ayton.
At the 1901 census he was listed as a Student Teacher, living with his parents.
By the time of the 1911 census he had become the Headmaster of the small school at Farndale on the N Yorks Moors.
He had married Muriel Scarth with whom he had had a 3 year old son, also named Alfred, and 2 daughters. They were living with Muriel's mother at nearby Loft House, Bransdale.
He was clearly a very intelligent man with a great love of his beautiful home area.
In 1910 he had published a book at his own expense entitled "Yorkshire Moors and Dales".
Sadly it did not make his fortune and, worse still, his spendthrift wife took his finances further downhill, until he landed up in the Bankruptcy Court in November 1912.

His mother died in 1913.
Alfred was enlisted at Stokesley, N Yorks into the 4th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment, but the date and whether he volunteered or was conscripted is not presently known, as his personal documents, like so many, must have been destroyed in the German Bombing of London in the Second World War.
The number allocated to Alfred, 200702, tells us that he was in the Army when men were given new 6 figure numbers in March 1917, or shortly after, as the 4th Battalion allocation began at 200,000.

First issued in 1902, the silver MSM was awarded to non-commissioned officers above the rank of Corporal for lengthy military service or, in Alfred's case:-
"acts of gallantry or meritorious conduct when not in the fact of the enemy".
Recipients were also granted an annuity, the amount of which was based on rank.
Alfred's award was Gazetted on the 22nd February 1919, but it is not known for what specific work or deeds it was merited.
He was buried in St Nicholas' Churchyard, Cockayne, Bransdale, N Yorks and is also commemorated on the Roll of Honour in County Hall, Northallerton, following his employment as a teacher.

3 Officer Pals who enlisted in the 4th Yorks Battalion.
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