Thursday, June 01, 2017

2229 Tpr Alfred Rock, Royal Horse Guards

Alfred Rock was a convalescent patient at Hickwells in early 1915.  His entry in Nurse Oliver’s album reads:

Trooper A Rock (2229) 
R H Gds

He shares this page with entries from SR/1921 Private James W Salmon of the 4th Royal Fusiliers, 6271 Private Ernest Whitcomb of the 1st Middlesex Regiment, 22002 Private D Jones of the Army Service Corps and 6155 Private Frank Chivers Dixon of the 1st Wiltshire Regiment.

According to his surviving military papers, Alfred was born in Stafford – or Fenton, Staffordshire, around April 1884.  He attested with the Household Cavalry at Manchester on 24th November 1914 giving his address as 25 Mona Street, Douglas, Isle of Man and his trade as labourer.  He was 30 years and eight months old and single.

His attestation was approved in London the same day and on the 25th November he was posted to the Royal Horse Guards and given the rank of Trooper and the army number 2229.  All appears to have gone smoothly until 26th February 1915 when, off duty at the YMCA Headquarters in London, he fell down some stone steps, badly damaging his left elbow.

Between 3rd and 26th March he was at the 1st London General Hospital where he was operated on and had his elbow wired.  The following month, presumably still with his arm in a sling, he married his sweetheart in the registry office at Stafford (21st April 1915).

The injury to his arm was enough to permanently finish Alfred’s military career before it had even got off the ground.  A Medical Board convened at Chelsea on 14th April 1916 found him “permanently unfit” and reported on 10th May that year that:

 “Olecranon [elbow] has been wired, operation not very successful as no true long union; wire has now been removed.  Pain on movement, movements restricted.  Result of accidental fall.  Permanent.  No incapacity due to service.”

Alfred was discharged from Regents Park Barracks, NW on 23rd May 1916 after one year and 182 days’ service.  He was described on discharge as aged 32 years and one month; five feet, ten and one eighth of an inch tall with brown hair, brown eyes and a fair complexion.  He gave his address as 29 Mawson Street, Ardwick, Manchester and was discharged in consequence of “being found remarkably unfit by the Medical Board held at Duke of Yorks School, Chelsea on 14th April that year.  His military character was reported as very good with “no offence during the whole of his service”

On 9th January 1918 he was admitted to pension (although details of the award are not on his file).  He also appears to have moved house by this stage as the Mawson Street address is scored through.

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