Image from 1917 Chronicle and Mercury newspaper.
Born: 1898, Little Walsingham, Norfolk.
Died: 31st July 1917; age 19; KiA.
Residence: 99, Waveney Road, Ipswich.
Enlistment Location: Ipswich.
Rank: Private; Service Number: 40483
Regiment: Suffolk Regiment, 8th Battalion.
Formerly 2439, Suffolk Regiment.
Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial,
1901 Deppenham Lane, Hoxne, Suffolk.
Alfred was 2 years old and living with his parents & brother.
George Edgar Sparrow, 28, a Caretaker & Gardener, born Rushall, Norfolk.
Ruth Sparrow (nee Little), 26, born Lanton Downham, Norfolk.
Edgar William Sparrow, 5, born Little Walsingham.
1911 99, Waveney Road, Ipswich.
Alfred was 12 years old and living with his parents & siblings.
George, 38, a Jobbing Gardener – own account.
Eva Ethel Sparrow, 8, born 99, Waveney Road, Ipswich.
John Pearce Sparrow, 4, born 99, Waveney Road, Ipswich.
Soldiers’ Effects to John E. Sparrow – father.
Suffolk Regiment, 8th Battalion:
The Battle of Ypres 1917
The Suffolk Regiment the 8th Battalion the battle of Pilckem Ridge
31st July 1917 Regimental records show:
The attacking front of nearly 8 miles from the Menin road to the Zillebeke-Zandvoorde road.
A scene of the most desperate fighting in the opening battle, although the depth of the British advance was greatest in the direction of Langemarck.
The 8th Battalion reached its assembly position about 02:00 hrs on the 31st July and by zero hour (03:50 hrs) had established its headquarters at Wellington Crescent.
As “C” Company was passing through Zillebecke a shell burst amongst them, killing and wounding several of the men.
The 8th Suffolk’s and the 6th Royal Berkshire, ready and expected, waited for the front-line reports that would tell them the way was clear for them to advance. Due to a tragic mistake the 30th Divisional infantry wheeled to their left and assaulted the Chateau Wood instead of Glencorse Wood causing a fatal gap in the line and reported that the Glencorse Wood had been taken when part of the Wood was still in German hands.
Early in the Morning Lieut. Bolingbroke went forward with the battalion scouts to clear Sanctuary Wood and place signposts to guide the companies. They came under fire from the corner of the Wood, Cpl. Fletcher being twice wounded. This was the work of a daring sniper, who did much damage before he was killed. Soon after 06:00hrs Lieut. Bolingbroke sent back a message to say that the 30th Division were on the North side of the Menin road and in the Chateau Wood.
As the troops advanced a barrage was encountered in the splintered remains of Sanctuary Wood, on the far edge of which they came under a destructive machinegun and rifle fire. A platoon of “B” company under Lieut. Chibnall, was the first to get up to Lieut. Bolingbroke. These two Officers decided to attack the Second line (Surbiton Villa) with such troops as they could collect, and without waiting for support. The line was taken, Lieut. Chibnall and Sgt .J. Mason MM. being killed and Lieut. Bolingbroke wounded at the head of the platoon. In the course of the severe fighting in the vicinity of Surbiton Villa, Pte F.J.Read with a small party of “A” Company (Major H.A.Angier.MC) rushed a German machine-gun, killing the whole team.
The Battalion got on the Menin road near Clapham Junction and advanced several hundred yards beyond it, where they were checked and forced to take up a line of shell holes. The attack practically finished here, as by this time the enemy were in great strength round Glencorse Wood.
While Major Fache was crawling up the Menin road with a runner, a cock pheasant alighted about fifty yards ahead of them, though shells were dropping everywhere. The runner shot the bird, carrying it out of action on the end of his rifle with great pride. It was possibly not the first time he had killed game without a licence.
By this time all our tanks had been put out of action. The battalion, having advanced altogether nearly a mile and made a hard but unavailing fight to get still further, now dug themselves in. Thus ended, as far as the 8th Battalion was concerned, the battle of Pilckem Ridge, in which they sustained 177 casualties.