Private 12093 Alfred John Wakefield

Alfred John Wakefield was born in 1895 and lived with his mother at William Street, Grays and worked at Grays Brewery for Messrs.' Seabrooke and Sons.

He was a keen cyclist with Grays Cycling Club and a member of the Grays Church Lads Brigade.

At the outbreak of war he was one of the first men to volunteer at Grays Recruiting Station to join the new Kitchener's Army and so at 19 years he became a Private in the 9th Essex.

Alfred went to Shorncliffe Barracks in Kent for initial training with the new battalion.

Training was nearing its conclusion on 19 January when Alfred felt unwell and was admitted to hospital where he was diagnosed as having pneumonia. His condition deteriorated and he died the next day.

His death was felt by his colleague who raised  9 pounds and 17 pence to cover the costs of the body being returned to his home at Grays and a wreath from his colleagues in A and B companies.

His funeral service and burial, with full military honours, was held at Grays Parish Church which was attended by nearly 3,000 people