Alfred William Morley Kirkup (1890–1917), Corporal (325671) in the 1st Battalion the Cambridgeshire Regiment, was killed in action on 26 September 1917, aged 27 in ‘Tower Hamlets’ (as was John Cadman Brooks), a name given to an area of the Western Front near Ypres. His death is recorded on the Tyne Cot Memorial (panel 148) in Belgium, and he is remembered also on this family grave. He is also commemorated on the war memorials of Great St Mary and Holy Trinity churches in Cambridge.
Alfred was born in 1890. He was the second of nine children of Alfred and Alice Kirkup (née Morley). Alfred worked as a draper’s assistant and worked for Cambridge and District Co-Operative Society Limited. He enlisted along with his four brothers in the 1st Cambridgeshire Regiment. Three of them had consecutive regimental numbers. Alfred was a Private (2354) in the Cambridgeshire Regiment before being promoted to Corporal (325671) in the 1st Battalion, the Cambridgeshire Regiment. The Battalion embarked for the front on 14 February 1915 with Alfred and two of his brothers. It saw action at numerous major battles during the war including at Mons, Ypres, and at Thiepval during the Battle of the Somme where they suffered 500 casualties on the first day of the battle.
If Alfred was present throughout these actions, he was lucky to survive for almost three years before his death on 26 September 1917 during the Battle of Passchendaele (3rd Battle of Ypres). He was actually killed on the first day of the Battle of Polygon Wood near the small village of Gheluvelt, on the Menin Road a short distance south west of Ypres . How he died is unclear but according to the battalion war diary they were attacking a German strong point known as ‛Joist Redoubt’ across heavily shelled and boggy ground and suffered 30 killed and 132 wounded that day. His body was never found. He was entitled to the Victory medal and British War medal. His four brothers all miraculously survived the war.
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Lat Lon : 52.201966, 0.13764536 – click here for location
Parish : Holy Trinity
War Graves Photographic Project
Census returns for England: 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911
England & Wales, FreeBMD Birth Index, 1837–1915
England & Wales, FreeBMD Marriage Index, 1837–1915
England & Wales, FreeBMD Death Index, 1837–1915
England & Wales, Death Index, 1916–2007
UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914–1919
Private communication from Ian Dann
By Mary Naylor, Emma Easterbrook and Ian Bent