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Albert Edward Bernard Apps

Rank: Private

Lifetime: 1883 -1916

Reference: 8664

Private Albert Edward Apps (8664) of the 6th Battalion of The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment) died on 3 December 1916. He is buried at the Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension. He is not listed on the Hampton Wick War Memorial but his Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) entry refers to him as the son of Albert and Lucy Apps of 42 Park Road, Hampton Wick.

According to his baptismal records at St Paul’s, Kingston Hill, Albert Edward Bernard Apps was born on 17 September 1883. His parents lived at 3 Edith Terrace Elm Road, Norbiton. His father, also Albert, was significantly younger than his mother. The 1901 Census reveals a fourteen year age gap: the age of Albert senior is given as 39 whereas that of his wife, Lucy, is recorded as 53. The entries of the preceding 1891 Census are also revealing. The then thirty year old Albert senior, a carman, is listed as the father of three older sons, all born in Wiltshire and ranging in age from twenty-one to sixteen who must in reality (given the small age difference between them and Albert senior) have been his stepsons. It seems that Albert Edward (7) was the first of his parents’ joint children who by 1891 included: Nellie (6); Effie (5); Lucy (4) and Charles (1). All of these children were born in Kingston-upon-Thames.

By 1901 the Apps had added a final child, Selina (7) to their family. Albert Edward was living with his parents and younger brother, Charles (10), and sister Selina at 159 Elm Road, Kingston- Upon- Thames. His father was still working as a carman and Albert Edward was employed as a checker at the parcels office.

Albert Edward Apps joined the regular army enlisting with the Royal West Surrey Regiment aged twenty two on 10 October 1905. At the time he enlisted he was slight: 5’3” tall, weighing 116lbs and with a 32” chest. During his seven year career with the regular army he saw service first in England (serving in Guildford, Shoncliffe and then Colchester between October 1905 and September 1906) and then all over the Empire including: India (Salkot; Barian; Sialkhat; and Agra from March 1904 until December 1908); Aden (December 1908 until February 1910); Gibraltar (February 1910 until January 1912) and finally Bermuda (January 1912 until January 1913).

In spite of his many foreign postings, Albert Edward Apps’s service career was not remotely distinguished. After five years service as a clerk he was not deemed eligible for an increase in pay – probably as a result of his terrible service record. During his service in India on 16 May 1907 he was charged with urinating in his washing bowl in his tent and sentenced to 168 hours detention. A year later whilst serving in Agra, he was confined to barracks for 8 days for disobeying regimental orders. Thereafter he was punished no less than seven times for drunkenness. On his discharge from duty in January 1913 his character/conduct was dismissed as “indifferent” no doubt as a result of his apparent habitual drunkenness. On 16 January 1913 Private Apps, aged 29 years and 3 months and with a chest now expanded to 35”, was transferred to the Reserve and returned home to his parents at 159 Elm Road, Kingston-upon-Thames.

However, upon declaration of war on 4 August 1914 all reservists were called up. As a member of the Reserve Private Apps was immediately mobilised on 23 September 1914. Unfortunately his Service Record was badly damaged in an enemy bombing raid in the Second World War and so is difficult to read. However, it appears that Private Apps was not initially sent to France. He was eventually sent there on 24 March 1915 presumably to replace losses the Regiment had suffered at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle earlier that month. Private Apps was wounded shortly afterwards at Festubert on 16 May 1915 with a gunshot wound to his left knee received in the field. He was transferred to England for treatment three days later. Having recovered he was punished on 14 October 1915 with 28 days’ detention for overstaying his pass and then sent back to the Base Depot at Etaples in France on 13 December 1915. He was returned to the frontline on 30 December 1915. Thereafter, his medical record tells of a series of minor, if unpleasant, conditions: two attacks of scabies on 20 February and 17 November 1916 and two outbreaks of boils on 23 November and 25 November 1916. Finally, on 3 December 1916 he succumbed to Bronchio Pneumonia a sad end to a long (if undistinguished) service career lasting over ten years.

Private Apps’s own connection to Hampton Wick is peripheral. His effects were sent to his parents at Elm Road in March 1917 and his parents still appear to have been living there in 1920 when they acknowledged receipt of his medals. Therefore, the CWGC reference to Hampton Wick must be by reference to their address some time after 1920.

The first phase of this Project is to gather information about the men commemorated on the Hampton Wick War Memorial who fought in the Great War, also known as World War I, WWI or the First World War.

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