Albert Oswald Dunkley
Lance Corporal, 18th (Queen Mary’s Own) Hussars
Military Service Number 7703
Born 10 February 1894, Umballa, India
Killed in Action 28 October 1914
Remembered with Honour on the Le Touret Memorial
Albert’s father Frank, a soldier in the Indian Army, married widow Marie Ann Walker in Umballa, India on 11 December 1890, where all of their children; Frank, Albert, Alick and Dorothea were born.
In 1901 they were stationed at Aldershot and in 1911 at Tidworth, near Salisbur. They moved to Scarborough soon after, where Albert enlisted in the army as soon as war broke out. His father was Quartermaster Sergeant at the barracks on Burniston Road and the family probably lived at The Homestead, Church Becks, Scalby, which was the address of his brother Frank at the time of his early death in 1918, aged just 26. Sister Dorothy married Norman Marsh in Devonport 1925 and died in Scarborough in March 1954.
Albert landed in Boulogne on August 16th and took part in the Battle and Retreat from Mons, the victory on the Marne and the Battle of the Aisne. In early October the Regiment marched back into Belgium to an area south of Ypres.
On October 28th they left their horses and went on foot towards Neuve Chapelle where they took over a line of trenches newly vacated by the 47th Sikhs at a spot called Pont Logy. Private SH Taylor of ‘B’ Squadron recalled how they enjoyed themselves for a time, “knocking pears down from a tree.” Soon, however, bullets began to fly by them and they were sent to a trench across a road which was swept by German fire. When they arrived they found it “a bit too thick” so his troop was sent back to another a trench which bordered the road. They had not been there long when a ‘Jack Johnson’ shell,(so-called after the first black American world heavyweight champion), scored a direct hit on the trench they had just vacated, in which Albert Dunkley and 3 comrades were “smashed to atoms” and seven others wounded.
In his memoirs, Brig-General Charles Burnett writes, “We had all hoped for a career of prosperity for Dunkley, the son of our Quartermaster, who had taken such keen interest in the Corps, up to the extent of sending his son into its ranks”.
Albert Dunkley, the first of the men on the war memorial in St Laurence’s churchyard to die, is also commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial, Richebourg, France and on The Ring of Remembrance at Notre Dame de Lorette which was opened on 11 November 2014 by President Francois Hollande, accompanied by Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and British Prime Minister David Cameron. The memorial records the names of 579,606 men and women of all nations who fell in action in the Pas de Calais in the First World War.