Regiment : 1st Special Company Royal Engineers. Formerly 2437, Royal Fusiliers.
Service number : 156562
Conflict : WW1
Date of death : Killed in action aged 27 on 24th March 1918
Buried : Commemorated on Pozieres Memorial, France, Panel 10 to 13.
Birthplace : Hastings, Sussex, enlisted Worcester
Relatives : Son of George Frederick Burr, of Highfields Park, Halesowen, Birmingham; and Caroline Burr, of Selsey Lawn, Hales Rd., Cheltenham
Memorial : Halesowen War Memorial
Also appears on : Worcester Kings School WW1 Memorial. Worcester Cathedral Cloister Windows Kings School.
Credits : Casualty identified and researched by Andy Frisby. School records courtesy of Kings School Archives. 1911 census and school records researched and transcribed by Sandra Taylor.
Awarded Military Medal.
Alfred Burr was born on 17th July 1891. He entered Form IV Kings School in September 1907. At the time of his admission to the school his parent is recorded as Re. S.J. Burr, D.D.L., Highfields, Halesowen. Alfred left Kings School from The Hostel in July 1910 to attend a college in Birmingham.
Highfields Park, Halesowen
George Frederick Burr, head, age 54, Clerk in Holy Orders, born Edgbaston, Warwickshire
Caroline Burr, wife, age 52, married 25 years, 5 children, 3 still living, 2 died, born Southboro, Kent
Frederick Bonham Burr, son, age 23, student, born Hastings, Sussex
Alfred Burr, son, age 19, student, born Hastings, Sussex
Dorothy Caroline Burr, daughter, age 16, school, born Meriden, Warwickshire
Hannah Male, servant, age 45, cook (domestic)
Mary Louisa Chambers, age 19, housemaid (domestic)
Florence Annie Higgins, age 24, housemaid (domestic)
The following information has been researched by Mark Rogers:
Alfred Burr was born in Hastings. While at King’s School he won athletics prizes, and essay prizes in History and Divinity. He was obviously a keen sportsman winning the one-mile handicap bicycle race and described as having “quite the best hitting powers” for the cricket team and at football was a “vigorous wing player when in the mood”. Sadly, Burr has no obituary in The Vigornian.
Alfred Burr served his country first in the Royal Fusiliers, perhaps in one of the Public Schools battalions arriving in France on 15 November 1915. At the time of his death he was serving with No 1 (Mortar) Special Company Royal Engineers, one of the four companies of the Special Brigade formed in early 1916 equipped to fire gas and smoke shells from 4 inch Stokes Mortars. These companies were Army Troops, controlled at Corps level and deployed wherever the need was greatest. Although no citation is available, he was awarded the Military Medal in September 1917.
On 21st March 1918 the Germans launched their Spring Offensive code named the ‘Kaiserschlacht’. Alfred’s company was preparing for a mortar operation in support of 9th Division at Peronne. Normally armed with revolvers, Special Brigade personnel had been equipped with rifles in anticipation of this German offensive. As the enemy attacked, the 9th Division and its supporting elements were forced to withdraw, and after first destroying the mortars already emplaced and abandoning 900 rounds of mortar ammunition, the company was withdrawn to Peronne to join the defending troops.
On 22nd, 23rd and 24th September amid the confusion of withdrawal, the company had to destroy more mortars and ammunition and became part of a scratch defensive force in trenches in front of Faviere Wood. Some of the company were employed attempting to retrieve company stores from the vicinity of Bray some 5 miles to the south, where they had been left on 23rd. While the war diary does not record casualties during this period, Alfred’s death has been officially accepted as having occurred on 24th March. The trenches occupied on 24th March were in front of the wood to the north east of Maricourt.
Alfred Burr has no known grave, the photograph available shows his name on Pozieres Memorial.