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Albert Berry (1889-1917)

Jarrow born Co-op clerk served with 18 DLI killed at Battle of Arras

Albert Berry was a Jarrow man born and bred. He lived there, married there, enlisted there. Sadly, he died a long way from home, on the battlefields of Northern France.

Albert was born in the autumn of 1889 in the parish of Jarrow St Paul’s. His father, John, worked as a joiner in the shipyards of the Tyne. His mother, Frances, would eventually have four children to raise: Albert, John, Margaret and Richard, as well as looking after her younger brother, Robert Lundy who was 13 years younger than Frances.

As they left school, both Albert and Margaret went to work for the Co-operative Society, Albert as a traffic clerk, Margaret in the stationery office while John followed their dad into the shipyards.

On 12 June 1915, Albert married Mary Isabella Huntley in Jarrow but the couple would not know married life for long. Albert volunteered for the army in the local recruiting office on 7 December of that year, and on 8 April 1916, he was passed medically fit for general service.

Albert was a small man. According to his short service attestation papers, signed on 8 April in Sunderland, he was just 5′ 3″ tall (160cms) with a chest width of 35″ (89cms) and weighed just 10 stone 4 pounds (65.3 kilos).

He was posted to “B” Company of 18th Battalion DLI (Durham Pals) and joined his unit on 16 December 1916. He had previously signed his will, leaving all his possessions to his dear wife, Mary.

Albert left for France on 2 February 1917. Three months later, on 3 May, he was killed in action during the Battle of Arras. He was buried there and his name is commemorated on the battlefield memorial; he is also honoured on the triptych in St Paul’s, Jarrow.

Mary was granted a widow’s pension of 13 shillings 7 pence a week, but this became payable only from November 1917, when she had completed the necessary paperwork. No consideration was given to backdating the pension to the day she became a widow..

Civil Parish: Jarrow

Birth date: 1889

Death date: 03-May-1917

Armed force/civilian: Army

Residence: 39 Albert Road, Jarrow (civil parish of Hedworth Monkton & Jarrow, ecclesiastical parish of Jarrow, St Paul’s 1891 census)
6 York Street, Jarrow (ecclesiastical parish of Jarrow Grange Christ Church 1901 census)
15 York Street, Jarrow (1911 census)
22 Beaumont Street, Jarrow (attestation papers 1916)

Employment: Traffic clerk with the Jarrow Co-operative Society

Family: Parents: John Berry (b 1865), Frances Berry (nee Lundy) (1868-1928)
Siblings: Margaret Berry (b 1893), John Berry (b 1897), Richard Berry (b 1905)
Wife: Mary Isabella Berry (nee Huntley)

Military service:

Private 31642
Regimental Number 10865
B Company, 18 Battalion, DLI

Medal(s): British War Medal
Victory Medal

Memorial(s): Arras Memorial
DLI Book of Remembrance, Durham Cathedral
Saint Pauls, Jarrow, triptych

Gender: Male

Contributed by Kelloe Visitor, Trimdon Station

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