Born 18 October
1886, in Portslade, Sussex; son of Alfred LANGRISH and Jane
Married 26 December
1908, Portslade, Sussex, to Florence May HORSLEY (3 July
1886 - 30 December 1959), daughter of Walter and Susanna
HORSLEY, three daughters, three sons:
Died 27 June 1962,
Cuckfield Hospital, Sussex aged 76.
1914 - 1915 STAR:
The star was awarded to all who saw service in any theatre
of war against the central powers between 05 August 1914 and
31 December 1915 except those eligible for the 1914 Star.
BRITISH WAR MEDAL:
This medal was instituted to record the successful
conclusion of the First World War.
The medal was awarded to all ranks of the fighting forces,
to civilians under contract, and others employed with
military hospitals who actually served on the establishment
of a unit in a theatre of war between 05 August 1914 and 11
November 1918 (inclusive).
Z/123 Able Seaman Alfred Walter Noel Langrish
Sussex Division RNVR & the Royal Naval
a serving member of the Sussex Division of the Royal Navy
Volunteer Reserve, official number Sussex Z/123. This low
serial number suggests he was one of the early recruits; the
Sussex Division came into being on April 26th 1904 and had a
maximum strength of 110 ratings in 5 companies.
2nd 1914 the RNVR was mobilised and the men of the division
were ordered to report and await further orders; two days
later the men of the RNVR were informed that only a small
percentage of their number would be joining the fleet for
service at sea, the rest were to form a new fighting force,
the Royal Naval Division (RND), for military service on
land. This new fighting force was composed of 12 Battalions
in 3 Brigades, 2 RN and 1 RM.
1st (RN) Brigade –1st Batt, (Drake) 2nd Batt. (Benbow), 3rd
Batt. (Collingwood), 4th Batt. (Hawke)
2nd (RN) Brigade – 5th Batt. (Nelson), 6th Batt. (Howe), 7th
Batt. (Hood) & 8th Batt. (Anson)
3rd (RM) Brigade – Chatham, , Deal, Plymouth & Portsmouth
Alfred’s service with the RN Division
is a combination of information drawn from Alfred’s Royal
Naval Volunteer Reserve service record held at the
and historical detail taken form ‘The Royal Naval
Division’ by Douglas Jerrold. Family information kindly
supplied by his granddaughter, Jan Hamblett.
4th 1914, Alfred was ordered to report to HMS ’Victory
VI’ the RN Division Recruit training depot at Crystal
Palace, Sydenham, London to receive basic training. Assigned
to 3rd training Battalion. From this date he was a member of
the RN Division.
4th 1915, left RND Training Depot, drafted to HMS
‘Victory IV’, RN Division Depot at Blandford.
‘A’ Company, Collingwood Battalion at Blandford.
[This, along with Hawke and Benbow, was a newly
reconstituted Battalion,: During the Divisions first
operational deployment, the defence of Antwerp in October
1914, a communications failure left three battalions of the
1st Brigade stranded and unable to retreat to the new lines,
the men of three Battalions were taken prisoner.]
28th 1915, the RND departed from Balndford Camp to embark
for the Dardanelles and the Gallipoli campaign. Benbow,
Collingwood and Hawke Battalions would sail later once
training was completed. The RND were in action on April 25th
1915, a Beachhead established at Cape Helles on the southern
tip of the Gallipoli peninsular.
1915, Alfred with Benbow, Collingwood and Hawke
Battalions landed at Gallipoli. Collingwood Battalion
attached to the 2nd Brigade alongside Anson, Hood & Howe.
4th-5th 1915, the 2nd Brigade & the RND were in action,
in the 3rd. Battle of Krithia; a third attempt to capture
the village of Krithia and its prominent hill feature Achi
Baba. This was the first attack of the campaign to take
place under trench warfare conditions and it was to fail
badly; 60 officers and 1.800 men were casualties, half of
these were killed. Collingwood Battalion was to provide
troops for a second wave for this attack but were severely
mauled by flanking fire when French Singhalese troops were
over run on their flank leaving them open to enemy fire.
1915, the severity of the casualties suffered in the
action of June 4th & 5th saw the RND division contract to
have 3 Battalions per Brigade. Collingwood and Benbow
Battalions were disbanded and their men being distributed
amongst the other three Battalions. Alfred was transferred
from Collingwood to Hood Battalion.
September 8th 1915, Alfred is hospitalised – this
appears to be a result of illness rather than being wounded.
Alfred reported to the 3rd Field Ambulance station with
defective teeth, he was passed to No.11 Casualty Clearing
Station the same day where it appears he was also suffering
September 18th 1915, Alfred is evacuated from Mudros
aboard the Hospital Ship ‘Aquitania’ bound for the UK. On
arrival in UK sent on leave.
30th 1915, reported to RND Depot Blandford after medical
leave; assigned to 3rd Reserve Battalion at Blandford.
1916, transferred from 3rd Reserve Battalion to the
newly formed 2nd Anson Battalion (one of 4 new Battalions
planned to bring the Division back to 12 Battalions.)
13th 1916, transferred from 2nd Anson Battalion to the
2nd Reserve Battalion, Blandford. The RN Division had been
transferred from the Admiralty to the authority of the War
Office on 29 April 1916 and was reorganised and redesignated
as the 63rd (Royal Naval) Division on 19 July 1916. Khaki
uniforms were introduced, from this time but with navy
force still comprised of 3 Brigades, with 4 Battalions but
the RN Division was reduced to eight Battalions; four regular
army battalions, were added to the division to bring the
strength up to 12 battalions- the new line up was:
188th (RN) Brigade: Anson, Howe, 1st Bn , Royal Marines and
2nd Bn , Royal Marines
189th (RN) Brigade: Drake, Hood, Nelson, Hawke
190th Brigade: Honourable Artillery Company, 7 Bn Royal
Fusiliers, 4 Bn Bedfordshire Regiment, 10 Bn Royal Dublin
10th 1916, transferred from Command Depot to 3rd Reserve
4th 1916, drafted to Hood Battalion British
Expeditionary Force in France.
September 23rd 1917, sent to 1st Army rest camp till
October 6th 1917
3rd 1917, Award first Good Conduct Badge (a single
chevron similar to a corparal’s stripe which denotes three
years of service with good conduct, badge worn on left upper
12th-26th 1918, on leave in UK
1918, 63rd (Royal Naval) Division engaged in the Battle of
24th 1918, Alfred is reported as ‘Missing’ – in March
1918 the 63rd (Royal Naval) Division was in the Flesquieres
Salient to the south west of Cambrai. On the fourth day of
the Battle of St. Quentin the RN Division was ordered to
withdraw from their positions at Bapaume and make their way
to Rocquigny (approx 85 miles SE). There are two possible
scenarios during which Alfred may have been captured; during
this withdrawal two parties of men from Hood Battalion
became disoriented and moved off in the wrong direction,
towards Bus, they were not seen again and were assumed to
have been taken prisoner by the German forces. The other,
and most likely, possibility is that he was wounded and left
behind – the withdrawal was made under enemy fire and
wounded men could not be recovered. 16 officers and 328
other ranks from Hood Battalion were either killed or wounded
on March 24th.
20th 1918, Alfred is listed as a Prisoner of War and is
held in the Langensalza POW camp in Germany (now called Bad
Langensalza), where he recovered from his wound in the camp
15th 1919, after 10 months in captivity Alfred was
repatriated with other POWs
9th 1919 Discharged from RN Division.
After the war
After the war Alfred worked at the engineering firm CVA in
Portland Road Hove until he retired. He died aged 76, three
years after his wife Florrie. He is buried in Portslade
1914: Alf, lower center, his brother
George is on the right, posed with a fellow sailor and an
instructor shortly after the formation of the Royal Naval
1915: Hood Battalion under training:
'Blue Jackets' have been replaced by Army jackets and Khaki
sailor's caps bearing Royal Naval Division cap tallies. Alf
is 2nd row 3rd from left.
1916: Hood Battalion group: Now fully
kitted out as infantry men - Alf back row 4th from right,
training before departing for France.