Private Alfred Ratcliffe
91552 1/5th Durham Light Infantry (151st T.M.B.)
Died as a P.O.W. 14th October 1918, aged 19
Lived at 22 Aquaduct Street
Buried in Niederzwehren Cemetery, Germany
||Burnleys Great War Centenary
||Sponsored by: Bev Ratcliffe
Alfred Ratcliffe was born in Burnley the son of Mrs M Ratcliffe of 22
Aqueduct Street. He enlisted in Burnley as Private 91552 in the 1st/5th
Bn Durham Light Infantry serving in the Trench Mortar Battery..He died
of exhaustion aged 19 on Monday 14th October 1918 as a prisoner of war
and is buried in Niederzwehren Cemetery, Kassel, Germany grave VI E 6.
The Burnley Express of November 1918 reported - “Mr and Mrs Ratcliffe
22, Aqueduct Street, Burnley are anxious to learn of the whereabouts of
their son Pte. Alfred Ratcliffe, Durham Light Infantry. He has been missing
since May (1918). Pte. Ratcliffe has been in the army two years and was
previously a Corporation employee.”
Burnley Express of 1st January 1919 reported :-
“Died from Exhaustion. Soldier’s Sad End As Prisoner.
Another young soldier who has died from exhaustion - doubtless the effect
of German ill-treatment and overwork behind the lines - as a prisoner
of war, is Pte. (91552) Alfred Ratcliffe, of 22, Aqueduct Street, Burnley.
Enlisting in March 1917 when not 18 years of age, he went to France last
March at the time of the retreat, and was one of the men unfortunate enough
to be captured on May 27th..
Beyond the official intimation that he was missing, the parents had received
no word or letter from their son or anyone until the following letter
arrived from Rev. Claude A. Beesley, English Chaplain to the British Help
Committee, Prisoner of War Camp, Langensalge, who stated;- “I pray
that God may give you courage and fortitude to bear the sad news which
it is my duty to impart to you.. On the 14th Oct, at 10.30a.m., Pte. Alfred
Ratcliffe, no. 91552 of the 151st Trench Mortar Battery; quietly passed
away to his last resting place, having succumbed to exhaustion. I tender
you my sincere and deepest sympathy in your sad bereavement, and hereby
offer you any service that I may be able to render you. He was buried
in the prisoner’s cemetery here, by myself and was followed to the
grave by a contingent of N.C.O.’s and men of various regiments.
The grave number is 1219.”
Pte. Ratcliffe, who attended St Peter’s Church, formerly worked
in the electricity department of the Burnley Corporation”.
Alfred was also commemorated on the Pickup Croft Sunday School Memorial
which was dedicated on 16th September 1922. Pickup Croft was a mission
church of St Peter’s Parish and was also used as an Infant School.