Private Albert John Weston

3921 3rd Bn., Leicestershire Regiment who died on 27 October 1916

Family History

Albert John Weston, born in 1890, was the fifth of the ten children of John William Weston and Julia (nee Clarke). In 1911 the family were living at 5 King Street, Oadby and Albert, along with his older brother Horace was working as a general carter, hauling goods and possibly passengers to and from Oadby. Albert’s other siblings worked predominantly in the hosiery trade. Their father John was a bricklayer.

King St in 1960s before demolition

The Weston family were (as now) an old and widely extended Oadby family. In 1916 there were two distinct branches of the family. One at the northern end of the village in the area of East St but also ‘up the fields’ around Regent and Spencer St. The southern branch, to which Albert belonged, occupied King St and London Road. Like several larger Oadby families this branch of the Westons occupied a number of different houses on King Street. They swapped houses with relatives and neighbours as their families expanded and contracted. Originally twenty one six roomed houses lined both sides of the road. Only the two at the far end fronting London Road still survive. Known locally as ‘Kingy’, the street saw more than its fair share of casualties during the war.

 

Service Record

Albert enlisted in the 3/4th Leicestershire Regiment on 3 February 1915 at the age of 25 years. He was described as 5’3”, a little below average height but within the minimum requirements and he was passed fit for duty. The 3/4th Leicesters was a Territorial Force Reserve Unit which supplied new drafts (ie. replacement soldiers) to the Leicestershire Territorials. The Territorials were part time soldiers training on Saturday nights and at an annual training camp. The 1/4th Leicesters were drawn from Leicester city and its suburbs and the 2/4th Leicesters from the county towns and villages. The 3/4th reserve battalion was based at Grantham. Albert’s service record indicates that on 17 October 1915 Albert was attached to ‘28th provisional battalion’ though it has not been possible to identify what unit this might have been.

Colchester Military Hospital

Later in October 1916 the record details Albert’s emergency admission to Colchester Military Hospital: “Patient admitted 27/10/16 at 5.45pm with abdominal pains of two days duration. Vomited intermittent from mouth. In pain. Pulse 110 small and weak. Aspiration shallow…abdomen extended. Immediate..?… whilst freeing appendix. Patient’s condition became worse and the pulse hitherto weak suddenly ceased. Died 9.45pm 27/10/16.”  Albert’s body was returned to his family in Oadby.

In 1916 appendicitis was a killer condition even though the operation to safely remove a diseased appendix was well practised. King Edward VII was an early recipient of the procedure shortly before his coronation in 1901. But complications and an overstretched military surgeon could have led to the unfortunate outcome for Albert Weston.

 

Memorials

Private Albert John Weston is Remembered with Honour at Oadby Cemetery.

News of Albert’s death was minuted by the Oadby Urban District Council on 12 November 1916