Albert was part of a large family. He was born in Shotesham 28 February 1883 to James and Clara Flint (nee Wiseman). It was his father’s second marriage. His first wife Mary Ann had died in 1871 leaving three children., William born 1866, John born 1868 and Anna Elizabeth born 1870. When James remarried on 25 December 1872 he was working as a thatcher. He went on to have seven more children, Emma born 1873, Robert born 1877, Ellen born 1880, Walter born 188, Albert 1883, Rosa 1887 and May 1888.
Although Albert was born in Shotesham he was baptised in St. Mary’s Church, Saxlingham on 1 July 1883. In 1891 the family were living in the Street, Saxlingham Nethergate.
By 1901 his brother William had married and was farming in Hedenham, Norfolk. Albert aged 17 years old was working as a stockman on a cattle farm and was living with William and his wife, Emma.
On 26 February 1904 Albert joined the Territorial Norfolk Regiment. He was 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighed 116 lbs and had a 34 inch chest. He had a fresh complexion with grey eyes and brown hair. His next of kin when joining were his father James Flint from Saxlingham, his brother William from Hedenham and his brother Robert from Woodton. He left on 15 August 1905 as his services were no longer needed.
In 1904 his brother Walter emigrated to Canada. His father died in 1907. Although Albert is on the Electoral Roll for Saxlingham in 1911 it has not been possible to find him in the Census for that year.
In October 1912 Albert married Emma Riches in Saxlingham Church. She was aged 41 years old, nine years older than him. Prior to her marriage she had been working as a servant for the Reverend Pitt, at the Rectory in Saxlingham.
In 1914 he was working as a groom for James Hazell in Shotesham.
On 24 April 1912 he enlisted in 1/ 4 Norfolk Regiment (Territorials) Service number 1752, later 200120, as a result of which when war broke up he was mobilised on 5 August 1914. He went on to serve in Salonika, Egypt and Palestine.
They spent the next few months training in Essex and Suffolk. On 29 July 1915 they embarked on S.S Aquitania from Liverpool to the Dardenelles. They arrived there on 9 August 1915.
The countryside in which they were fighting was difficult with high hedges, deep ditches and forest in the background which gave cover for snipers. There was also a problem with a lack of water for the troops. By September the number of men in the Battalion fit to fight had been reduced to 376 with 218 in hospital, many suffering from dysentery. In November there was a great blizzard in the area and by December the number of fit men had gone down to 170.This was due to illness and the adverse weather and living conditions. On 15 December the Battalion retreated and left for Egypt. They sailed from Mudros, a port on the island of Lemnos which had been the base for the fighting in the area. They arrived in Alexandria on 19 December 1915.
Alexandria became the base for the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force instead of Mudros. It was more suited for the purpose with a better infrastructure. It became an important hospital centre for the military operations in Egypt and Palestine. It was easily accessed by hospital ships, and hospital trains brought wounded from the Suez Canal zone.
The Battalion remained there during 1916 defending the Suez Canal. In 1917 they were involved in fighting in Palestine which resulted in the taking of Jerusalem on 9th December 1917. They remained in Palestine during 1918 and in September of that year moved northwards ending up in Beirut in November 1918.
During his military service he was admitted to hospital on numerous occasions. He contracted malaria during his stay in Salonika as did many other soldiers, but it is not known where he was treated.
He was admitted to the Australian Hospital in Ismailia and then transferred to the Citadel Military Hospital in Cairo on 10 October 1916 for tonsillitis. He rejoined his Unit five days later.
In 1917 he was admitted to several hospitals in Cairo for fever, probably as a result of malaria. These hospitals included the 26th Casualty Clearing Station and 43rd Stationary Hospital. It is recorded that he had Benign Malaria in 1915 and Tertiary Malaria in 1917. The latter is more serious and unless treated aggressively the person can die.
On 16 November 1918 he was admitted to a hospital in Beirut with scabies. Eight days later he was dangerously ill with pneumonia. He was considered out of danger on 28th November and on 6 December he had been transferred to 87th General Hospital in Alexandria. He was also in the British Red Cross Hospital until 30 January 1919. The latter may have been one of the Convalescent hospitals. He returned to his regiment on 2 February 1919. He embarked from Port Said on 19 March 1919 and was discharged from the army on 6 May 1919.
Whilst in the army he served as an infantryman (groom) and on leaving worked as a yardman.
His period of service was recorded as being 7 years and 13 days and for 3 years and 249 days of that he served with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. His service for a pension was counted as being 4 years 255 days.
After his return he and Emma lived at Stone Cottages, the Street, Saxlingham Nethergate. By 1926 they had moved to the Meadows, Thurton and in the early 1930s lived at Manor Farm, Thurton.
They do not seem to have had any children.
In 1939 Albert was living with the Webb family at the Gravel Pits, Norwich Road, Loddon and was working as a farm labourer. His wife Emma was a patient at The Vale Hospital, Swainsthorpe. This was a community hospital that cared for the elderly. She died in December 1940
He died in the Summer of 1957.
England & Wales, Birth, marriage, death index 1837-2005
UK Census Collection
British Army Medal Roll Index cards, 1914-1920
1939 Register- www.findmypast.co.uk
Norfolk Electoral Rolls-Southern Division Saxlingham Nethergate and Thorpe, (Absent Voters Lists 1918-1920)
British Army Pension Records
Norfolk, Church of England Diocesan Baptismal Records, Saxlingham Nethergate.
St Mary’s Church Saxlingham Marriage records (transcribed by Mary Muir)
www.findmypast.co.uk – Electoral rolls for Norfolk and military records.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission – Information about Alexandria after March 1915.
The History of the Norfolk Regiment. Vol.II. – F. Loraine Petre. Norwich: Jarrold and Son Ltd. The Empire Press
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