Member of the staff at the Public Record Office.
Andrew Behan has researched Bland: Captain Alfred Edward Bland was born on 28 March 1881 in Kidderminster, Worcestershire, the third son of the eight children of Joseph Bland and Alice Millward Bland née Dangerfield. His father was a Draper. The census taken on the night of 3 April 1881 shows him as a 6 days old baby living with his parents, two sibilings and his paternal grandmother at 7 Coventry Street, Kidderminster. The 1891 census records the family living at 39 Leswell Lane, Kidderminster. He was educated at the New Meeting School, Kidderminster and at the Kidderminster Grammar School until 1894 when he went to Christ’s Hospital for six years before attending Queen’s College, Oxford in 1900. At the time of the 1901 census he was visiting 1 West Park Avenue, St. Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands, the home of Joseph Charles Green and Agnes Ann Green and his occupation was given as a Student/Oxford University.
On 24 August 1905 he married Violet Amy Ellis at All Saints' Church, Blackheath. They had two children, Christopher Bland, born 9 November 1908 and Lawrence Millward Bland, born 17 May 1910. The 1910 South Norwood edition of Kelly's Directory shows the family address as Camelot, Spring Lane, South Norwood and this is confirmed by the 1911 census that gives his occupation as a Clerk - Public Records Office. On 29 September 1914 he enlisted in the Inns of Court Regiment, Officer Training Corps and his service number was 1429. His address was given as Devon Lodge, Knoll Road, Bexley, Kent. The London Gazette dated 20 February 1915 states that he was appointed a 2nd Lieutenant in the 22nd Battalion (7th City), The Manchester Regiment with effect from 18 January 1915 and their edition dated 15 March 1915 states that he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant with effect from 1 February 1915. He was further promoted to the rank of Captain on 26 April 1915, as confirmed by the London Gazette dated 9 June 1915.
On 11 November 1915 he embarked from Folkestone, Kent and arrived in Boulogne, France. He was killed in action, aged 35 years, on 1 July 1916, the first day of the Battle of Somme and was buried close by were he fell. His body was subsequently exhumed and re-interred in Plot IX, Row B, Grave 6 at the Dantzig Alley British Cemetery, Mametz, Somme, France. Probate was granted to his widow on 13 October 1916 and his effects totalled £748-9s-8d. On 23 November 1916 she was sent £117-14s-8d followed by a further £6-18s-3d on 14 April 1917 as his outstanding army effects. On 7 October 1919 she received a £5-0s-0d war gratuity. On 15 March 1922 she was sent by post to her address at 'Amberley', Burdon Lane, Belmont, Sutton, Surrey, his posthumously awarded 1915 Star, the British War Medal 1914-1918 and the Victory Medal. He is also commemorated on the Bexley War Memorial located at the junction of Parkhill Road and Hurst Road, Bexley, DA5 1HT.
Andrew adds that apparently a booklet has been published about this man: 'God Bless England' The Life and Death of Alfred Edward Bland (1881 - 1916) A Kidderminster-born Soldier who died on the Somme, by Don Gilbert. Our image is from the front cover.