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Albert Sidney Amor

Sergeant 2399, Albert Sidney Amor, 1st/4th Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment

 

Albert Amor

Albert Amor

Albert was born in Hungerford in 1890, the son of farm worker, Henry Amor, and his wife Mary, née North.

 

His name is the cause of some confusion, as he is found in various records with differing second names - Sidney or Thomas. However, the records of the Royal Berkshire Regiment tie the two together as both Albert Sidney and Albert Thomas are recorded in the 1st/4th Battalion with the service number 2399.

 

His birth is registered in the Oct-Dec quarter of 1890 as Albert Thomas and it is Albert T who appears with his parents and many siblings in the 1891 census, aged 7 months.

 

Albert came to Thatcham to work as a paper maker, probably at the Colthrop Mill. He lodged with his brother George (also a paper maker) and his family in Northfield Road.

 

He also signed up for some part-time soldiering as a member of the Territorial battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment (the 4th Battalion). On the day after war was declared the battalion arrived at their annual camp outside Marlow after a two mile march in the rain. The camp was cancelled and the men were woken at 2.30am and put on a train back to Reading arriving at 6.30am. Normally they would have been sent home after the camp, but not on this occasion; they hung around the Brock Barracks in Reading waiting for news. The following day (4 August 1914) at 7.20pm the news they had been expecting arrived - the battalion was to mobilise. They were ordered to join the South Midland Division currently forming at Swindon.

 

Territorials signed up to serve in the UK, at this early stage of the war, before they could be sent to France or any other overseas theatre of war, they had to agree to a change in the conditions of their service. Some 70% of the battalion volunteered to fight, the remainder, and some deemed unfit for active service, becoming part of a newly formed 2nd/4th Battalion. They were soon back up to full strength as, at this time, around 50 more men were arriving each day.

 

The Battalion was sent to Chelmsford for training, arriving on 29 August. They remained there until late March 1915 when they entrained for Southampton and crossed to Boulogne.

 

The local paper reported the news:

 

Newbury Weekly News, 1 April 1915

 

Echoes of Thatcham.

...

The now presumed depature of the Berks Service Battalion of Territorials mow known as the 1st/4th Royal Berks for the actual field of war involves four of our local roll. Namely Sgt P H Rutter, Lance Corporals H Pearson, Alfred Wallington and A Amor. The three former wer turners at J Brown and Sons and the other day the employees sent a telegram to their erstwhile shopmates wishing them success safety and an early return. This wish will be endorsed by the wide public in the village. It is stated that they crossed to France on Tuesday night.

...

 

For the following year Albert and the Battalion lived life on the front, periods manning trenches separated by much longer periods of relative inactivity - though the men would always be kept busy training or at some task or another. Losses were incurred through sniping and shelling or to men sent into no-man's land on patrol but they were not involved in any major actions. During this period Albert was promoted to Sergeant - a very responsible position, demonstrating the respect he must have generated in both the men he commanded and the officers who commanded him.

 

On 16 May 1915 their most serious action to date took place when the Germans attacked their trenches in force following an artillery barrage. The Battalion suffered heavily losing 98 men (18 killed, 29 missing), B Company being reduced to half its strength. Most of the missing later turned up as POWs.

 

Records show that Albert was killed in action on 25 May 1916 and that his body was not identified - his name being recorded on the Thiepval Memorial (Pier & Face 11D).

 

Albert Amor on Thiepval Memorial

Albert's name on the Thiepval Memorial

This date is odd, on that day the Battalion war diary records that they were billeted at Beauval, well behind the front, and the most they had to face was a thunderstorm that delayed a route march (something to keep the men fit and occupied) from the morning to the afternoon.

 

It seems more likely that Albert died during the action in the early hours of 16 May or from wounds received that night.

 

He is remembered on the Thatcham Town War Memorial and on the roll of honour in St Mary's Church, Thatcham).

 

[Thanks to Carol & Valerie Pike for their contribution to this story]

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 Died this day:
23 November 1916
G R Baker
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