Deputy Captain Alfred James Whittington

Deputy Captain Alfred James Whittington of Newport Fire Brigade died on 12 August 1915 aged 32 in service with the Isle of Wight Rifles.

 

Alfred was born on 1 June 1883 in Newport. He was the son of Alderman William Whittington, a draper and milliner, and Frances.Census returns suggest he spent his entire brief life at 90 High Street, Newport. He first appeared in the Press as a member of the Borough's fire brigade in 1909 as Deputy Captain under the long serving Nicholas Mursell (if the building numbering is consistent they were also neighbours).

Quite often Captain Mursell's interests took him out of the town and it's common to find that Alfred took charge of the brigade on many occasions and commanded at some tricky fire incidents.

His final official act as a member of the brigade is acknowledged in a report of the Isle of Wight Fire Brigade's Federation church parade at St Saviour's, Shanklin, on 26 July 1914; two days before the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand that proved the catalyst for war. It appears that the majority of Alfred's records were among the 60% of the total lost during fire-bombing in the Second World War as little can be learned of his recruitment and service.

However it is known that he served with the Isle of Wight Rifles as Lance-Corporal, 1704. He landed with the Rifles at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli on 10 August 1915 and two days later, amid a botched advance, was pronounced missing presumed dead. A month later the IW County Press of 11 September still listed him as missing. In reality that status remains the same for although he is remembered on the Helles Memorial at the tip of the Gallipoli peninsula (pictured below), his body was never recovered and his last resting place unknown.

Rest in peace Deputy Captain Whittington.