Alec Bratton Private 45287 - 13th Bn. York and Lancaster Regiment  Killed in action Friday 12th April 1918, aged 19 Commemorated on Ploegseert Memorial, Hainaut, Belgium Charles Bratton married Florence Harding (daughter of George Harding) at St Boniface, Bunbury Cheshire on the 15 th  October 1888. The couple returned to Gnosall parish and had three children: Sidney, (1892), Elsie (1894) and Alec (1899). However by the time Alec came along the family had moved to Norbury where in 1901, Charles was working as a carpenter working on the Shropshire Union Canal. In 1911 Charles and Florence Elizabeth were still living in Norbury and Charles was still working as a carpenter for the canal company. Sons, Sidney, now 19, was an apprentice carpenter and Alec was still at school. Sidney married Catherine Barber in the summer of 1911 and Elsie aged 24, married Percy R. Draper in the early months of 1919 and lived at the Hollies. Alec Bratton joined the Prince of Wales Own (West Yorkshire) regiment as private 59396 and was transferred to the York & Lancaster regiment as private 45287. He was called up on the 3 rd  September 1917 and enlisted at Lichfield, when he was 18 years and 5 months old, 5 foot 7 inches tall with a chest measurement of 34 ½ inches (breathing in – 32” when not), was working as a shoeing-smith, and at which time he was living at the Hollies (where his grandparents Charles and Fanny had lived, but now the home of his parents, Charles & Florence Elizabeth). Alec was sent with the British Expeditionary Force to France on the 30 th  1918 and transferred to the York and Lancaster regiment on the 2 nd  April 1918. Ten days later, he was dead. His identity and details were later provided on an ‘Official German List of Dead’ which was “accepted as sufficient evidence of death for official purposes”…”the date of death has been assumed to be…” There were no personal effects.
Ploegseert Memorial, Hainaut, Belgium. Historical Information The PLOEGSTEERT MEMORIAL commemorates more than 11,000 servicemen of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in this sector during the First World War and have no known grave. The memorial serves the area from the line Caestre- Dranoutre-Warneton to the north, to Haverskerque-Estaires-Fournes to the south, including the towns of Hazebrouck, Merville, Bailleul and Armentieres, the Forest of Nieppe, and Ploegsteert Wood. The original intention had been to erect the memorial in Lille. Most of those commemorated by the memorial did not die in major offensives, such as those which took place around Ypres to the north, or Loos to the south. Most were killed in the course of the day-to-day trench warfare which characterised this part of the line, or in small scale set engagements, usually carried out in support of the major attacks taking place elsewhere. It does not include the names of officers and men of Canadian or Indian regiments (they are found on the Memorials at Vimy and Neuve-Chapelle) and those lost at the Battle of Aubers Ridge, 9 May 1915, who were involved in the Southern Pincer (the 1st, 2nd, Meerut and 47th Divisions - they are commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial).