In 2009 we visited Wales and spent a day in Bridgend. I was hoping to discover more about my great-uncle Alfred Mansel Young who died in the First World War.
From my limited information I knew he was at 9 Graig, Newcastle Hill and his occupation was an Assistant at the Bottling Stores, Brewery at the time of the 1911 census. The Graig still exists so off we went. Unfortunately only one side of the street survives, and of course it was the wrong side!
The Graig, Newcastle Hill, Bridgend
However, the street was quite pretty and I presume the houses on the other side were of a similar size and age.
We then visited the local history centre to look at local newspapers. Despite reading issues from throughout the war we couldn’t find any record of my great-uncle’s death during the First World War, this was quite surprising as he has joined a local regiment and also very disappointing.
War memorial, Bridgend
Our final trip of the day was to view the War Memorial in the centre of Bridgend to see his name inscribed on it. I noticed that there was also a J Underhill and R.A. Underhill listed on the War Memorial. I wonder if these were relations of his as the family he was living with shared this surname?
One of my favourite and most enigmatic characters in my family history is Alfred Mansel Young. I’ve previously posted about him, but just the bare facts. He’s my brick wall.
Why was he an enigma?
Because he left his family in Portsmouth and went to live in South Wales with a branch of his family.
A couple of years ago we went to South Wales for a long weekend and managed to go and visit some of the addresses my relatives had lived. I’m not sure why but I really like doing this and I think it adds another dimension to your knowledge, getting a feel for the places they lived in and the streets they must have walked.
I wonder why he left his family and moved away? His life was so short yet he had moved from Portsmouth to Bridgend and then enlisted and been killed, all by the time he was 21.
He enlisted with the South Wales Borderers in Bridgend and his name is on the Bridgend War Memorial so he must have been living their permanently. Perhaps there were no jobs for him in Portsmouth, he’d fallen out with his family or was sent away after his mother died when he was young?
When we were in Bridgend I checked all the local papers at the local Record Office for mentions of his death but I couldn’t find any.
We visited the street mentioned in the 1911 census but only half of the street survived, the wrong half, of course!
After his death his medals must have been sent to his father as they were eventually passed down to me along with a couple of his army photographs, his cap badge and a name badge.
His First World War Army records were destroyed so this is the only information I have about him. I suppose a lot of people must have people like this in their family whose lives were cut short by war. I just find it so frustrating that I can’t find any information about him.