Alfred Calcraft b1884 Hull
A cousin who served in the Great War
A Thomas Calcraft was born in Muston in 1853, being a brother to the Joseph Calcraft who stayed farming at Muston and whose sons emigrated to Canada. By contrast, Thomas’ sons would be Yorkshiremen rather than Canadian.
In 1871 Thomas had had moved away from the family farm and enlisted with the Royal Regiment of Horse Guards in their Regents Park barracks in London, – the regiment is also known as the Blues and Royals. He was still with them, still with the rank of Private, in 1881 when he was based at their Hyde Park barracks. He hadn’t had an entirely smooth ride though, as in 1879 he had been in Bedford Gaol on a charge of desertion and awaiting military escort, but it must have worked out OK if he was still in the regiment two years later. By 1882 he had quit soldiering and moved north and was working as a coachman in Hull when he married Jane Cundill, a young widow who already had four children. The couple went on to have another four in Hull, their names being Thomas born in October 1882, Alfred in 1884, Minnie in 1888 and Edward in 1890. Thomas (the father) died in Scarborough in 1925.
Their son Alfred initially worked as a farm servant in Seamer in Yorkshire and married Ethel Farmeary on Boxing Day 1905 in York. By 1911 they had two children and Alfred was a groom in the employ of a Mr Ellis. He also worked as a charabanc driver for the Balmoral Hotel in Scarborough where he gained excellent references. When the war started in 1914 he enlisted early, joining the Army Service Corps as a driver on the 12 November at the age of 29 and being given the service number T3-025947. After training Alfred embarked with the British Expeditionary Force in March 1915 for Campanelles, went on to Alexandria and by 1916 was on operations in Salonica. He was back in England in 1917, spending time in York Hospital being treated for scabies, and returned to Salonica in August that year. He remained abroad for the rest of the war and returned to England for demobilisation in April 1919.
Alfred was awarded the 1914-15 Star and the War Medal (see picture). He died in Scarborough in 1947 and his widow Ethel lived there until her death in 1970.