Witley, June 21, 1917

Thursday        Received news of Alfs death tonight. I wrote him last Sat for the 1st time since we have been in Eng. we lost track of Each other when we left Canada. he did not get my letter his mother wrote me weather cool – ordinary day. Wrote Bert [Theobald] today.

The reality of death comes close to Percy today. His diary entry is laconic. “We lost track of each other… He did not get my letter. His mother wrote me.”

Percy returned to the subject in a note at the end of his diary:

My friend Alf died on Friday the 15th after undergoing 4 opperations [sic] for wounds in the thigh rec’d in France We lost track of each other after leaving Canada Ted wrote me (I rc’d the letter the same day as Alf died) Teds letter informed me of his whereabouts The letter I wrote him while he was in the hospital was too late — His mother got my letter & informed me of the case

Alfred Edward Richards’ military file is not yet digitized by Library and Archives Canada, Toronto Star.JPGso full details of his service are not available. We know that he was wounded at Vimy, and was treated in hospital in Britain; he is buried in Brookwood Military Cemetery, near Pirbright, a mere thirteen or so miles north of Witley.

He was born in Gillingham, Kent on July 31, 1887, to Thomas Bowers and Alice Maud Richards. He never married, and died before reaching the age of thirty.  His parents paid 3d a letter to carve the following inscription on his gravestone: “He was ours and we remember/When all the world forgets.”


Rest in peace, Alf. We remember, too.




The Toronto Star clipping and the photograph of his gravestone are from the Canadian Virtual War Memorial maintained by Veterans Affairs Canada.


Copyright 2017. See “More about this project.”



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