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Albert Risbey (1883-1915)

Hartlepool man served in Canadian Army killed at Ypres eight weeks after arriving in France

Bristol-born Thomas Risbey had married Teesside girl Hannah Weightman in 1862 and they had nine children. The first of their children, John, was born in 1866, and Albert, the youngest in 1883. The family lived in the same house in Stranton from the mid-1870s until after the outbreak of war and all the younger children, including Albert, were born there. Thomas and Hannah died within five days of each other in November 1893.

By 1900 Albert was living and working in Canada in Carman, Manitoba; his older sister Ada had married John Stonehouse and they and their family moved to the same area in 1903. Albert returned once to England in 1904, travelling via New York, and stayed for three months, returning to Manitoba in April 1905. The 1911 Canadian census shows him living with Ada and her family in Macdonald, Manitoba and working as a teamster for the railroad.

23 September 1914 saw Albert one of the many men who flocked to the newly established army camp at Valcartier, Ontario to enlist in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF). He named his brother, Edward, at the family home in England as his next of kin and he became Private 21934 attached to the 11th Battalion. He mentioned his time spent in the 4th Durham Royal Garrison Artillery in England and as a member of a local militia group in Canada. Promoted to lance corporal after just one day, two weeks later the battalion sailed on the SS Royal George as part of a flotilla of ships making for Plymouth, England, where they arrived sixteen days later, and made their way to Larkhill camp on Salisbury Plain.

It was here at the beginning of February 1915 that Lance Corporal Risbey was transferred to the 5th Battalion and, after sailing from Avonmouth on 10 February, found himself with his new unit in France in billets at Armentieres. April saw the 5th Battalion involved in the fighting at the 2nd Battle of Ypres and it was here on 27 April, near Gravenstapel, that Albert Risbey received a shrapnel wound from which he later died. He is buried in Hazebrouch Communal Cemetery, south east of Calais.

Civil Parish: Stranton

Birth date: 01-Feb-1883

Death date: 27-Apr-1915

Armed force/civilian: Army

Residence: 130 Studley Road, Stranton, West Hartlepool (birthplace)
1732 Elgin Avenue, Macdonald, Manitoba (1911 Canadian census)

Religion: Methodist

Employment: teamster (1911 Canadian census)
Clerk (enlistment papers)

Family: Parents: Thomas Edward Risbey, Hannah Risbey nee Weightman
Siblings: John Robert Risbey, Edward Risbey, Thomas Miles Risbey, George Weightman Risbey, Ada Risbey, Hannah Risbey, Henry Risbey, Walter Risbey

Military service:

4th Durhams Royal Garrison Artillery (pre-war)
Lance Corporal
11th Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force
5th Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force

Medal(s): 1914-15 Star
British War Medal
Victory Medal

Memorial(s): Elwick Road Senior Boys’ School, Hartlepool, plaque (presently at Heugh Gun Battery)
Belle Vue United Methodist Church, Hartlepool, plaque
Men of West Hartlepool Roll of Honour

Gender: Male

Contributed by Jean Longstaff, Durham

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