Alfred Edwin Sanders was born in Barrowden, Rutland in 1893. He was the eldest son of William Cooper Sanders and Sarah Agnes (nee Betts). Formerly an agricultural labourer, William Sanders was a labourer in a stone quarry in 1901 and in 1911 a labourer at a lime works. In 1911 Alfred was a 19 year old farm labourer and living with his parents.
By 1914 he was working for the L. & N.W. Railway in Rugby and when the war started he joined the army as a private in the 3rd Battalion of the Coldstream Guards (regimental number 11020). He returned at Barrowden for a visit in October before arriving in France on 11th November 1914.
On 23rd December he celebrated his 22nd birthday and on Christmas Day he wrote a letter home.
“I got your parcel all right on Christmas-eve, and also one from Mrs Cave (Barrowden), one from where I used to lodge at Rugby, and one from Edie Clarke (Barrowden), and also a letter from dear Jane. So I think I got on all right for Christmas, don’t you, in the three parcels I got? Besides yours was socks and cigarettes. I shall be thinking about you at home this Christmas ‘scoffing’ plum-pudding and cake. And poor me living out here in the wet and cold, and the bullets and shells flying about something awful. Yes, my dear mother, if I get out of this alive I shall be a lucky boy, as the Germans are not half ‘hot stuff,’ and it’s most awful to see the poor soldiers as they get shot … I also got Mrs Stapleton’s (Barrowden) parcel. I hope you have had a good holiday this Christmas, and also Jack. But I don’t expect it will be much of Christmas in England this year, with so many lives being lost. I feel proud to think that people at home all think so much about me … I cannot write any more this time, as my hands are so cold, and there are no fires out here. Give all the kiddies a Christmas kiss for me, especially little Reggie. So long!”
(Grantham Journal, 16 Jan 1915 – http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/ )
On the 30th December 1914 he was shot in the head while fighting in the trenches and died six hours later. He was buried in the Bethune Town Cemetery, Grave number III. B 20
A photo postcard of the King and Queen, received at Christmas, was forwarded home for preservation.
Alfred Edwin Sanders is also remembered on the Memorial in St Peter’s Church, Barrowden
RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM