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Service tribute to chorister killed in World War One

By Herald Express  |  Posted: August 24, 2014

PLAQUE: Bob Brennand with the plaque dedicated to John Alford in the church

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ST JOHN'S Church in Shiphay held an emotional service to commemorate a chorister who died during World War One.

Adolphe John Alford died after being injured on the battlefield in 1918, aged 19.

A service at the Torquay church was described as being very successful.

Bob Brennand, lay preacher, said: "The service was very successful and we had around 35 to 40 people who attended.

"So many people died in World War One it is difficult to make sense of it, but if you know one local individual you can try to make some sense of it.

"This is what we did and it was quite emotional for some people."

Mr Brennand also wanted to give thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission for the help they have gave him.

"I called them last week to try to find out what to do clean up the grave, but they said don't worry about it and came and did it themselves," he added.

Adolphe joined the Devonshire regiment at the age of 16 at Exeter and in May, 1917, he was posted to France.

In the first quarter of 1918 the Germans made a push which the British managed to stop and reverse, but in so doing had to abandon trench warfare in favour of a more mobile style of open warfare.

Adolphe was injured, and shipped home to a large military hospital in St Albans, Hertfordshire, where he died on November 10.

Mr Brennand said: "It seems probable his injuries caused gas gangrene, which the medics at the time would have had almost no chance of treating successfully."

A wreath was also laid at Mr Alford's grave.

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