Rank: Private
Service No: 839
Date of Death: 13/05/1915
Age: 21
Regiment/Service: Essex Yeomanry “C” Sqdn.
Panel Reference Panel 5.

Additional Information:

Born in 1894 at Farnborough Hampshire, son of Joe (Regular Soldier Royal Engineers) and Elizabeth Mary Wild. In 1901 the family was living in Military Accommodation at Aldershot. 1911: A Warehouseman in a drapery warehouse, living with his family at 53 Waverley Road South Woodford. His father Joe had retired from the Army and was then employed as a Gate Porter by the London County Council, possibly at Claybury Hospital. The family home was later “Ivydene,” 34, Crescent Rd., South Woodford.

He was a member of “C” Squadron which was based at Waltham Abbey, and arrived in France on 30-11-14. The Yeomanry joined 10 Royal Hussars and the Royal Horse Guards in 8 Cavalry Brigade on 11-12-14.

Following three weeks of fighting which included the use of chlorine gas, the Yeomanry were moved forward to a support position at Frezenberg Ridge which had strategic importance. They were initially deployed in a supporting role, digging a communications trench to improve contact between GHQ and the front line. However at 04.00 on 13-05-15 the Germans began an intense four hour artillery barrage before storming the front lines and taking the trench held by the Lifeguards.

Essex Yeomanry, plus 10 Hussars and Horse Guards were brought up as reinforcements. At about 14.15 while under fire, they undertook a dismounted bayonet charge, doubling over 1000 yards of open ground only to find the Germans had withdrawn from the captured trench before they arrived. However the Yeomanry were then subjected to accurate shellfire before retiring to their previous locations at about 18.00.

This was the first time the Yeomanry had come under fire, and their success was costly in terms of casualties. On what was described as the “Black Day for Essex” 33 were Killed, 100 Wounded, 16 Wounded and Missing, 11 Missing – 160 in total, including their CO, Lt Col. Edmund Deacon who was never recovered. Capt. Ruggles Brize and 11 others in an advanced position within ruined houses thwarted any attempted counter attacks until they returned after dark. The regiment then held the GHQ trenches until relieved on the morning of 14-05-15. Their Brigadier stated that, “had the Germans attained their object, the position of the whole 27th Infantry Division on the right would have been rendered very precarious. As it was the Germans retired so great a distance that we were enabled to establish an unbroken line during the night unmolested”.

During this engagement Alexander Wild was Killed in Action.

Memorial: Rolls of Honour: Holy Trinity Church. St Mary’s Church.
Separate Folder: NO.
Principal Sources: Ancestry.
Qualification: Borough Resident.