Born: 1887, St. Helens, Ipswich.

Died: 23rd March 1918; age 31; KiA. Served 12 years.

Residence: Mortlake, Surrey

Enlistment Details: Location: Ipswich; Date: 8th January 1906; age: 18 years & 6 months; Religion: CofE; Occupation: Turner. Height: 5ft 6 1/4ins, fresh complexion, green eyes & brown hair. Slight flatness of feet.

Wounded – 25th September 1915 – Bayonet wound to the hand.


Rank: Rifleman; Service Number: 1433

Regiment: The Rifle Brigade, 2nd Battalion.


Memorial Reference:

Panel 81 to 84.

Pozieres Memorial,






1891   21, Lancaster Road, Ipswich.


Alfred was 3 years old and living with his parents & siblings.

Henry Sawyer, 40, a Steam Sawyer, born Saxmundham, Suffolk.

Fanny Sawyer (nee Ribbons), 41, born Great Blakenham, Suffolk.

William Henry Sawyer, 24, a Groom – Domestic, born Greenwich, London.

Charles Sawyer, 21, a Labourer – Builders, born Ipswich.

Mary Elizabeth Sawyer, 14, a Dressmaker, born Ipswich.

Walter James Sawyer, 6, born Ipswich.

Alfred Sawyer, born Ipswich.


1901   Camden Road, Ipswich.


Alfred was 14 years old, an Errand Boy – Ironmongers. he was living with his widowed mother, brothers & widowed, maternal grandfather.

Fanny, 51.

William, 33, a National Telephone Labourer.

Charles, 30, a National Telephone Labourer.

James Ribbons, 85, born Great Blakenham, Suffolk.


1911   India.


Alfred was 23 years old, a Soldier ranked Rifleman for the 2nd Battalion of The Rifle Brigade. 


In 1917, Ipswich, Alfred married Sarah Alice Bailey.


On the 10th January 1919, Mrs Susan Alice Sawyer received her late husbands British War medal, the Victory & 1914 Star on the 11th July 1919, and Memorial Scroll on the 13th November 1919.

A fellow Ipswich man from the 2nd Battalion letter from 1915:

E.A.D.T. – Wednesday, 6th January 1915 – CHRISTMAS AMENITIES – GERMANS WILLING TO PROLONG TRUCE – Sergeant Albert Barnard, of the 2nd Battalion, Rifle Brigade, writing on New Year’s Eve to his brother and sister in Ipswich says: –

“We have had rather an exciting time – rather out of the ordinary. We went in the trenches on Boxing Day, and there had not been a shot fired for two days. The regiment we relieved told us the Germans came out of their trenches and exchanged greetings. They advanced nah-way. So did our own people, and shook hands and passed the day.

The Germans said that they had beaten Russia. In fact, they said that they had wiped them out, and that they were coming back to us. France and us, they said, would be wiped out by April. What a different tale they heard. Our officers gave them some of the latest papers. They were surprised. They would not believe them. Well, we soon found out how they were placed.

The following morning (the 27th), at about 6 a.m., we saw some of them walk about in front of their trenches. Mind you, we would have been quite justified in firing at them. But we could not shoot them in cold blood. Not one of our men fired, and we got out of the trenches and walked about. We were waving to each other. All this happened about 300 yards from each other. This went on all through the day, and I think they would have still been the same. They do not want to fight. They say so themselves.

We got fed up with it, and we fired three shots into the air, rather high, and let them know we were serious again. Well, they answered, and after that they would not carry on. Four of the enemy came up to our trenches and surrendered. They told us that the Germans were going to make an attack at 12:15 that night. So we were prepared for them. Then at about twelve o’clock our guns started shelling their trenches. They must have caught some as they were walking about. It was terrible. Our guns were giving off rapid fire for an hour. We received no reply. Even then they got out of their trenches the next morning with the hope that we would not fire on them. We did not fire on a couple of them who came right out, but we fired a few rounds over their heads to keep them down. When we came away we were going on as usual. But they will not last much longer. They are fed up with it.

It was an ideal Christmas Day, but the next night and that following were beyond writing about; it was too much for words. The whole time we were in the trenches, and now we are out it’s lovely again. The Germans are as bad if not worse off than we are. In their position they have a river behind them, and if that floods what a hope they will have.”

Sergeant Albert Barnard encloses with the letter a Christmas postcard describing a trench scene, one of which was given by Lady Rawlinson, wife of the commander of the 4th Army Corps, to each man.


 The Rifle Brigade, 2nd Battalion


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