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Alexander John METCALFE

Main CPGW Record

Surname: METCALFE

Forename(s): Alexander John

Place of Birth: Carleton-in-Craven, Yorkshire

Service No: 18/543

Rank: A/L/Corporal

Regiment / Corps / Service: Durham Light Infantry

Battalion / Unit: 18th (Service) Battalion. (1st County)

Division: 31st Division

Age: ---

Date of Death: 1916-07-27

Awards: ---

CWGC Grave / Memorial Reference: III. P. 15.

CWGC Cemetery: ST. VAAST POST MILITARY CEMETERY, RICHEBOURGE-L’AVOUE

CWGC Memorial: ---

Non-CWGC Burial: ---

Local War Memorial: CARLETON-IN-CRAVEN, YORKSHIRE

Local War Memorial: SKIPTON – ERMYSTED’S GRAMMAR SCHOOL, YORKSHIRE

Additional Information:

Alexander John Metcalfe (born 10 February 1892) was the son of Stephen and Mary Hannah Metcalfe, née Woolley and brother of Private Frederick Stephen Metcalfe (18881) (q.v.). Their father was born at Carleton-in-Craven and mother at Ledsham, Yorkshire.

1901 Carleton-in-Craven, Yorkshire Census: Brown House - Alexr. John Metcalfe, aged 9 years, born Carleton, son of Stephen and Mary H. Metcalfe.

1911 Battersea, Surrey Census: St John's Training College, Vicarage Road - Alexander John Metcalfe, aged 19 years, born Carleton, Yorkshire.

British Army WW1 Medal Rolls Index Cards: Pte Alexander J. Metcalfe, 18/543, Durh L. I. Theatre of War [first served in] (3) Egypt. Qualifying date [for 1914-15 Star]: 22.12.15. K. in A.

British Army WW1 Medal and Award Rolls: Pte (A/L/C) Alexander John Metcalfe, 18/543, 18th Durh L. I. Deceased.

Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects: A/Lce Cpl Alexander John Metcalfe, 543, 18th Bn Durham L. I. Date and Place of Death: 27/28.7.16. In action. To whom Authorised/Amount Authorised: Executor - John A. Slingsley [sic]. £16 6s. 6d.

A short biography of Alexander is included in: ‘A Grammar School at War - The Story of Ermysted’s Grammar School during the Great War’ by Steven Howarth (2007).

Data Source: Craven’s Part in the Great War - original CPGW book entry

View Entry in CPGW Book

Entry in West Yorkshire Pioneer Illustrated War Record:

METCALFE, Lance Corporal Alexander John, aged 24, D.L.I., son of the late Mr. Stephen Metcalfe, formerly manager at Carleton Mill, killed in action, 1916.

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A/L/Corporal Alexander John METCALFE

A/L/Corporal Alexander John METCALFE

Regiment / Corps / Service Badge: Durham Light Infantry

Regiment / Corps / Service Badge: Durham Light Infantry

Divisional Sign / Service Insignia: 31st Division

Divisional Sign / Service Insignia: 31st Division

Data from Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914 - 1919 Records

Soldiers Died Data for Soldier Records

Surname: METCALFE

Forename(s): Alexander John

Born: Carlton, Skipton, Yorks

Residence: Skipton

Enlisted: Durham

Number: 18/543

Rank: A.L/Cpl

Regiment: Durham Light Infantry

Battalion: 18th Battalion

Decorations:

Died Date: 28/07/16

Died How: Killed in action

Theatre of War: France & Flanders

Notes:

Data from Commonwealth War Graves Commission Records

CWGC Data for Soldier Records

Surname: METCALFE

Forename(s): A J

Country of Service: United Kingdom

Service Number: 18/543

Rank: Lance Corporal

Regiment: Durham Light Infantry

Unit: 18th Bn.

Age:

Awards:

Died Date: 27/07/1916

Additional Information:

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Metcalfe Society

(Supplied by David Metcalfe, Keeper of the Computer Index for the Metcalfe Society, Catterick Garrison.)

Alexander John Metcalfe dd 27 Jul 1916 was born 1892 Carleton in Craven son of Stephen & Mary Hannah (Woolley) Metcalfe.

Miscellaneous Information

(Courtesy of Wessington U3A War Memorials Group)

Alexander John Metcalfe (no Military Record) was born in Carleton, Skipton, and was teaching at Fatfield Council School, Co. Durham when war broke out. He joined the 18th DLI, enlisting in Durham in September 1914 and becoming Lance Corporal 18/543. The 18th was the ‘Original Pals’ Battalion. It was part of the 93rd Brigade, 31st Division.

An entry in the Fatfield Church of England School Log Book for 5th January 1914 reads, “Mr Alex J Metcalfe transferred from New Lambton has begun work today in place of Mr Wells. [Date of birth 10/2/1892. Inter BSc London in July 1912. PT in Carleton (Skipton) Endowed Mixed School. Trained Battersea 1910-12. New Lambton Nov 4 1912 – 31st Dec 1913.] We have opened with fair attendance.” On 24th September 1914, the entry reads, “Mr Metcalfe was absent this morning having gone to enlist. The girls are beginning to knit stockings and make garments for the soldiers in the war. Lady Lambton has kindly sent £2 to buy materials and Miss Wood has charge of the work.” Gordon Ashworth, WB Toyer and GP Watson, all teachers at the same school, also enlisted. On September 28th it was noted that Mr Metcalfe was still absent having gone on army service.

On 22nd August 1916 the new school year began, “Began work today after Midsummer Vacation. Heard during the holiday that another of our Staff on Army Service, Mr Alex John Metcalfe, had been killed in action on July 27th. Two have been killed and one wounded out of 4 teachers in service. He was a most conscientious teacher and of a winning disposition.”

In May 1919, “We desire to erect a suitable War Memorial Tablet or picture in the Hall, in memory of the 30 old boys and teachers who gave their lives, and in honour of the 100 or more who served in the army and navy. Children were asked to subscribe today and are responding nicely.”

On 7th October 1920 the Log Book entry reads, “The School War Memorial and Roll of Honour were unveiled this evening by JF Bell Esq (in the unavoidable absence of A Kirkup Esq) the Rev WS Reeman presiding (in the unavoidable absence of Ald. WN Smith JP). 2 teachers and 49 old scholars are known to have lost their lives in the Great War, and 136 are known to have served in addition. [In fact the School Memorial names 2 teachers and 40 old boys]. The tablet and roll have cost over £30 raised by subscriptions from schools, teachers and friends. The County Educ. Committee have defrayed the cost of framing and glazing the picture and Mrs White kindly inscribed and ornamented the roll free of charge.

The elder scholars (boys and girls) sang appropriate music under the direction of Mr Stables and the ceremony passed off suitably and successfully.” [Mr Stables’ brother was killed in the war.]

Lance Corporal Metcalf was killed in action, aged 24, on 27th July 1916. In John Sheen’s book, ‘Durham Pals’, he quotes from men who were involved in a fierce German trench raid around Neuve Chapelle and states that AJ was killed during this raid. The book includes a photograph of L/Cpl Metcalf. He was buried in St Vaast Post Military Cemetery, III.P.15.

The War Diary for the 18th DLI shows that they were involved on the first days of the Battle of the Somme on July 1st, 2nd and 3rd and were relieved by the Worcester Regiment at 10pm on the 4th. They then moved to Louvencourt, then Beauval, then Berneuil before entraining at Conteville for Berguette. From there they marched to Berguette, then La Pierriere and finally Fosse, north of Arras. On 27th July they relieved the 14th Battalion of York and Lancaster Regiment in the front line. A bombardment by German Artillery began at 9.30pm followed by raids made by Germans. It was during this evening that AJ was killed.

The 1911 Census listed Alexander John at St John’s Training College for Male Students at Vicarage Road, Battersea. The other students came from various parts of the country and were aged between 18 and 21.

Alexander is noted on the St George’s Memorial as Metcalfe Pte – killed, School, the Fatfield Council School Memorial has him as Alex J Metcalfe – Teacher and the Harraton Memorial has him as Metcalf [sic] AJ. The Chester-le-Street Chronicle of 25/8/16 included a list of fallen teachers and Alexander was in that list, while on the 8th September 1916 another, similar, list was noted and, again, Alexander’s name was included. The paper carried a report (24/10/19) of a National Union of Teachers celebration of the part played by its members and AJ Metcalf was in the ‘In Memoriam’ section.

Having first served in Egypt, from 22/12/15, Alexander was entitled to the 1915 Star, the War Medal and the Victory Medal.

As an employee of Durham County Council Alexander Metcalf’s name is listed on the memorial at County Hall.

England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966

1917

METCALFE Alexander John of 1 Sunny Bank Carleton Skipton-in-Craven Yorkshire lance-corporal His Majesty’s Army died 27 or 28 July 1916 in France on active service Probate London 1 August to John Arthur Slingsby manufacturer. Effects £1153 10s. 11d.

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Alexander John Metcalfe

Alexander John Metcalfe

Alexander John Metcalfe, aged 16, from a 1908 School photograph

Courtesy of Ermysted’s Grammar School Archive

Fatfield, Co. Durham, Church of England School Log Book

Fatfield, Co. Durham, Church of England School Log Book

Entry for 5 January 1914

Kindly supplied by Wessington U3A War Memorials Group

Fatfield, Co. Durham, Church of England School Log Book

Fatfield, Co. Durham, Church of England School Log Book

Entry for 24 September 1914

Kindly supplied by Wessington U3A War Memorials Group

Fatfield, Co. Durham, Church of England School Log Book

Fatfield, Co. Durham, Church of England School Log Book

Entry for 22 August 1916

Kindly supplied by Wessington U3A War Memorials Group

Fatfield Church of England School, Co. Durham

Fatfield Church of England School, Co. Durham

Courtesy of Wessington U3A War Memorials Group

St. Vaast Post Military Cemetery, Richebourge-L'Avoue

St. Vaast Post Military Cemetery, Richebourge-L'Avoue

CWGC Headstone

Courtesy of Wessington U3A War Memorials Group

Fatfield, Co. Durham War Memorial

Fatfield, Co. Durham War Memorial

Fatfield, Co. Durham War Memorial, on which Private Alexander John Metcalfe is commemorated

Courtesy of Wessington U3A War Memorials Group

Fatfield Church of England School, Co. Durham War Memorial

Fatfield Church of England School, Co. Durham War Memorial

Fatfield Church of England School, Co. Durham War Memorial on which Private Alexander John Metcalfe is commemorated

Courtesy of Wessington U3A War Memorials Group

Fatfield Church of England School, Co. Durham War Memorial

Fatfield Church of England School, Co. Durham War Memorial

Fatfield Church of England School, Co. Durham War Memorial on which Private Alexander John Metcalfe is commemorated

Courtesy of Wessington U3A War Memorials Group

Fatfield Church of England School, Co. Durham War Memorial

Fatfield Church of England School, Co. Durham War Memorial

Fatfield Church of England School, Co. Durham War Memorial on which Private Alexander John Metcalfe is commemorated - detail

Courtesy of Wessington U3A War Memorials Group

Fatfield Church of England School, Co. Durham War Memorial

Fatfield Church of England School, Co. Durham War Memorial

Fatfield Church of England School, Co. Durham War Memorial on which Private Alexander John Metcalfe is commemorated - detail

Courtesy of Wessington U3A War Memorials Group

View Craven Herald Articles

View Craven Herald Articles

Craven Herald and Wensleydale Standard Logo

11 August 1916

METCALFE – July 27th 1916, killed in action in France, Lance-Corporal Alexander John Metcalfe, Durham Light Infantry, elder son of the late Mr. Stephen Metcalfe, formerly Manager at Carleton Mills, near Skipton, aged 24 years.

11 August 1916

TWO CARLETON SOLDIERS KILLED – LANCE-CORPORAL A. J. METCALFE

The news of the death in action of Lance-Corpl. Alexander John Metcalfe was received with great regret at Carleton last weekend. Deceased was the elder son of the late Mr. Stephen Metcalfe, formerly manager at Carleton Mills, and when at Carleton made his home with his aunt, Mrs. Stephenson, of Sunny Bank. Twenty-four years of age, he had had a successful school career, and prior to the war his future was full of promise. He was educated at the Skipton Grammar School and St. John’s College, Battersea, London, and afterwards became certificated teacher at a County Council School in Durham. Whilst attending Skipton Grammar School he was a member of the football and cricket teams, and he also played with the football team at Battersea College. He enlisted in the Durham Light Infantry in November, 1914, and went out to Egypt twelve months later, being transferred to France the following spring.

The sad news was conveyed to the relatives in a letter written by Mr. Nicholson, electrical engineer, of Durham, an old friend of deceased, who is also at the Front. The letter stated that on the night of July 27th, deceased was shot unawares during a surprise raid by the enemy, and also mentioned that the German who killed Lance-Corporal Metcalfe was afterwards chased by the latter’s comrades and killed. Mr. Nicholson also spoke in high terms of Lance Corp. Metcalfe’s qualities as a soldier and a man.

A letter has also been received from an Army chaplain stating that Lance-Corp. Metcalfe was buried behind the lines, and that a cross would be erected over the grave and a record kept of the place.

Deceased’s younger brother, Pte. Frederick Stephen Metcalfe, who in civil life was articled with Mr. C.H. Best, accountant, Bradford, is also at the Front with the 9th Duke of Wellington’s Regiment.

22 December 1916

SKIPTON GRAMMAR SCHOOL’S ROLL OF HONOUR

The Christmas issue of the Skipton Grammar School Magazine contains some very fine and touching tributes to the following ‘Old Boys’ who have laid down their lives for King and Country in this great War since the previous issue of the magazine:–

Lance Corporal A. J. Metcalfe, Durham Light Infantry
Pte. C. T. W. Rigby, 11th West Riding Regiment
Rifleman Harry Tindall, King’s Royal Rifles
Sergt. A. F. Ryder, K.O.Y.L.I.
Rifleman W. M. Jowett, Rifle Brigade, New Zealand Expeditionary Force

It is also recorded with keen regret that Captain C. Waddington, 3rd East Lancashire’s, and Second-Lieut. J. L. Tibbett, R.F.C., two other old schoolboys, have been taken prisoners of war.

View West Yorkshire Pioneer Articles

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West Yorkshire Pioneer Logo

11 August 1916

METCALFE – July 27th in action in France, Lance-Corporal Alexander John Metcalfe, of Carleton, of the Durham Light Infantry.

11 August 1916

TWO CARLETON SOLDIERS KILLED

Lance-Corporal Alexander John Metcalfe, of the Durham Light Infantry, and elder son of the late Mr. Stephen Metcalfe, and a former manager at Carleton Mills, has been killed in action. Lance-Corporal Metcalfe, when at home, resided with his aunt, Mrs. Stephenson, at Sunny Bank, Carleton. He was 24 years of age, and enlisted in Durham in November 1914. He went with his regiment to Egypt before Christmas last year, and came to France in the spring. Lance-Corporal Metcalfe was a certificated teacher in Durham under the Durham County Council. He was educated at the Skipton Grammar School and later went to St. John’s College, Battersea, London. He was formerly a member of the cricket and football teams at the Skipton Grammar School, and also played football with the college team. He has also another brother, Pte. Frederick Stephen Metcalfe, at the Front, who is attached to the 9th Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment. Prior to enlisting he was articled with Mr. Charles H. Best, accountant, of Bradford.

A letter received by Mrs. Stephenson, from a friend of Lance-Corporal Metcalfe, states that on the night of July 27th their trench was raided by the Germans, and Metcalfe was taken unawares and shot. They chased the German who was the means of his death and killed him. The writer also spoke in high terms of the deceased’s qualities as a soldier and also as a friend.

A Chaplain of the Forces writes that he buried Lance-Corporal Metcalfe behind the lines the day after he was killed. He would see to a cross being put over his grave and a record kept.

15 June 1917

CARLETON

SOLDIER’S FUNERAL – A gloom was cast over the village on Saturday evening last when news came that Private F. Metcalfe had died of his wounds in a hospital in London. Private Fred Metcalfe was the youngest son of the late Mr. Stephen Metcalfe, who was manager for the firm of Messrs. W. and J. Slingsby, Ltd. Private Metcalfe was a very promising young man. He was in an accountant’s office in Bradford, and also a manager for the Yorkshire Penny Bank. He was a member of the choir at the Parish Church, and was well-known and highly respected in the village. He was called to the colours in February, 1916, and went out to France the following May. His only brother, Lance-Corporal John Metcalfe, was a schoolmaster, and was killed in action last July. There were only these two sons and both have made the supreme sacrifice for King and country, The interment took place on Wednesday afternoon in the village churchyard, Rev. F.G. Badrick being the officiating minister. There was a crowded congregation at the Church, and the choir chanted the 39th Psalm, and sang the hymn ‘The radiant morn has passed away,’ and at the graveside the choir sang, ‘Sun of my soul.’ A large number of floral tributes were sent by friends.

12 December 1917

FOUNDER’S DAY AT SKIPTON GRAMMAR SCHOOL

A Fifteenth Century Foundation – War Memorial Proposed

COMMEMORATION SERVICE

Wednesday’s proceedings were opened with a service in commemoration not only of the founders and benefactors of the school but also of the gallant men who formerly passed through the school and who had given their lives for their country in the present war. The service was conducted by the headmaster (Rev. F.G. Forder) in the big school and there was a good attendance of old boys and others interested in the school. The names of the fallen heroes are as follows:– 2nd Lieut. T.B. Bellamy, Captain C.D. Bennett, 2nd Lieut. T.D. Broughton, Captain C.W. Brown, Gunner Philip Brown, Corporal H.S. Caw, Sergt. J. Cockerill, 2nd Lieut. H. Colley (master), Major M.E. Cookson, 2nd Lieut. E.G. Goodman, 2nd Lieut. F.H. Gill, Private W. Hartley, Rifleman W.M. Jowett, Lieut. H. Knowles, 2nd Lieut. C.H. Lee (master), 2nd Lieut. J.C. McIntyre, Captain J.B. McKay, Lance-Corporal A.J. Metcalfe, J.H. [E.] Metcalfe, Private E. Platt, Private C.T.W. Rigby, 2nd Lieut. W.A. Rodwell, Sergt. A.F. Ryder, Lieut. E.J.C. Supple (master), Private F. Thornton, Rifleman H. Tindall, Sergt. H. Walker, Gunner Herbert Watson, 2nd Lieut. Alec Wilson, Private Cameron Wilson, 2nd Lieut. Ian Wilson.

Among the old boys who have gained distinctions are the following:– Military Cross, Second-Lieutenant J.G. Berry, Second-Lieutenant J.B. Hartley, Captain J.T. Hurst, Lieut. P. Jowett, Lieut. J. Petty, and Capt. T.B. Pollard (master); Distinguished Conduct Medal, Corpl. W.A. Murgatroyd; Mentioned in Despatches, Lieut. J. Pethybridge, Capt. Allan Wilson, and many others.

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