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Alfred JC Abbotts POW, Minden and others in photo


sutcliffe trail
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I am attaching the photo and back of a postcard in a collection inherited from my grandparents. My grandfather L/cpl Leonard Sutcliffe was a POW at Minden.

This card is addressed to

111 Northolt Road

South Harrow

Middlesex

England

sent with the message 'In remembrances of the days we spent together in Minden Lagerett. March 1918. Sincerely Yours Alfred JC(?) Abbotts. I assume he is in this group. Otherwise no identification of anyone else.

post-93000-0-60809800-1349607105_thumb.j

post-93000-0-78969500-1349607117_thumb.j

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The only Alfred J C Abbotts on the MICs is Alfred J C Abbott of the 14th London Regiment (London Scottish), No. 5043 later renumbered to 511491. Embarked to France 18-11-1915. Enlisted 17-7-1915 and discharged 1-11-1918, age 27, due to wounds.

From the 1911 Census it looks like he is Alfred James Charles Abbott, a died fruit and grocers clerk, born at Twickenham in 1891, son of Alfred James Abbott, a boot repairer, and Mrs Ellen Abbott, of 111 Northolt Road, Harrow On The Hill Harrow. In the 1930s he lived at 45 Hawkins Crescent, Harrow-on-the-Hill with his wife Lottie Lydia Abbott (nee Eden, married 1919). It looks like he died at Cheltenham in 1986 (date of birth given as 2-10-1891).

Steve.

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Thank you.

Would anyone be able to identify which one Alfred Abbott is, knowing which regiment he was in, from uniform clues?

And, on re-reading the card I am now wondering: does it actually say Minden. and then Lazarett? Can anyone enlighten on what would have happened, that he was at some stage at Minden, then Lazarett, dating this card March 1918 and then was discharged in November 1918?

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Lazarett was a hospital so it would have been the Minden POW camp hospital and not a different location.

Steve.

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I would need to be convinced that Alfred J C Abbot and Alfred J C Abbots are the same person. If Abbots is in the photograph then, although it is taken outside the Lazaret (notice the crutches laid down behind them), they look to be in relatively good shape, too good to have been repatriated as no longer fit for active service (though not all their legs are visible and the tall guy at the back may be missing one, as could the guy two to the right!). The discharge date of the 1st November 1918 is then too early for him to have been repatriated as a PoW at the end of the war. He could be an escaper but being discharged due to wounds would seem to rule out any chance of that. If the two are one and the same person then he would probably be one of the three wearing the glengarry. Unfortunately the cap badge is worn on the side and are usually unidentifiable as Scottish badges look very similar in outline. Uniforms are also not good guides for identification of PoW's' units and, in many cases, not even good for identifying nationality as they had a habit of wearing each others uniforms.

Doug

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Thanks for this.

On reflection I think that the name on the card is probably Abbott rather than Abbotts. The end character is more of a flourish than an 's' as such maybe?

Now you mention the issue of crutches and the possible loss of legs - the man back centre is close to one set of abandoned crutches and is leaning on the two guys in front of him, perhaps to support himself. He also has a sandalled left foot. Standing but not very fit for walking? When I enlarge the image you can see that the man further to the right has a folded-up trouser leg just visible suggesting, as you say, a lost leg.

Pity about the cap badge identification issue if it's not reliable for POW images- I have an image up in the uniforms forum at the moment with a group of 19 POWS at Minden from the same collection of cards and was hoping to find out more about their regiments! Answers so far have yielded suggestions for 12 of them, but maybe I'm barking up an irrelevant tree?

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