Ephraim Alfred Dudley
Person Male Born 1896 Died 1962
We are grateful to Maria A Hessman in the USA, for telling us that her grandfather modelled for the WW1 soldier on the Rifle Brigade monument and for sending us the following information about him:
Ephraim Alfred Dudley was a Rifleman with the Middlesex Regt. (Service # 6905848). He was the model for the WWI Rifleman on the soldier on the Rifle Brigade monument in Grosvenor Square/Gardens, Victoria. He was a humble man who did this duty reluctantly. The statue is a great likeness of him and we visit him each time we are in London. He earned many medals the Silver War Badge, 1914-1915 Star, Victory Medal, Long Service & Good Conduct, etc.. He fought in the trenches exposed to mustard gas and was a POW in Belgium near Mons. He survived the Great War and continued his British Army Service for about 21 years. After leaving military service he continued to serve his country and his native city. He was a Postman and Air Raid Warden during WW2. He would not abandon his city during it greatest fight against dictatorial tyranny and so too my grandmother remained in London with him during the bombings, sending their children north to strangers via the railways not knowing if they would ever meet again. Dudley was born in 1896 in Hendon and died in 1962. I would be interested to know if there are any records for this memorial which states who the models were for the soldier statues. Thank you. Maria A. Hessman, USA.
We asked our ancestry consultant, Andrew Behan, to see what he could find on Ephraim. First he found the photo, which is great to have, but with such low res. it's difficult to compare with our own (not very good) photo of the statue for which he modelled.
Andrew identifies some ambiguity in the information supplied by Ms Hessman. We've written to let her know that we've now published and also to see if she can clarify things. The rest of this page is from Andrew:
Ms Hessman says that Ephraim Alfred Dudley was a Rifleman with the Middlesex Regiment (Service Number 6905848). The Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge's Own) was formed in 1881 on the amalgamation of the 57th Regiment (West Middlesex) and the 77th Regiment (East Middlesex) and would therefore not have any connection with The Rifle Brigade. The Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own) goes all the way back to 1800 My research shows that Ephraim Alfred Dudley served in the Rifle Brigade with a service number of 5522.
He was born in 1896 in Hendon, the youngest son of Samuel and Annie Harriet Dudley, nee Hollingsworth. His father was a General Labourer. On the 1901 census, the family were living at 7 Mordaunt Road, Harlesden, NW10, but by 1911 they had moved to 210 Villiers Road, Willesden Green. He joined The Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own). An older brother, Samuel Edwin David Dudley, also joined The Rifle Brigade and had the service number 5540. This older brother was Killed in Action on 21 January 1917, aged 22 years whilst serving in the 13th Battalion of The Rifle Brigade and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial, France.
Ephraim entered France on 27 January 1915 whilst serving as a Private in the 4th Battalion, later as Corporal in the 12th Battalion. He was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal 1914-1918 and the Victory Medal.
Ms Hessman says that Ephraim also received the Silver War Badge. This was presented to those who were discharged from service during the Great War, usually through injury, to prevent them being humiliated by ladies presenting them with white feathers in the street, but she then claims that he continued to serve after the war. The two statements are incompatible. I believe she is confusing the award of a Silver War Badge to another E. A. Dudley who served in The Rifle Brigade from 31 August 1914 to his discharge on 28 August 1918 and had the service number of 2137. This E. A. Dudley was ten years older than Ephraim.
In 1924 Ephraim is shown on the Electoral Register as living at 67 North Way, Willesden with his father. Ephraim married Beatrice Ellen Edwards on 20 December 1927 in Plymstock, Devon. They had three children, Samuel Edward Dudley, born in 1930, Edwin Alfred D Dudley born in 1933 in Devonport and Joan Beatrice Maria Dudley, born in 1935 in Malta. He was appointed as a Postman in the London Postal Region in April 1937. From 1939 until 1959 the Electoral Registers show him and his wife at 92 Conway Crescent, Greenford, Middlesex but in 1960, until his death on 14 April 1962, aged 65 years , he and his wife were living at 389 Greenford Road, Greenford, next to his son and daughter-in-law at 391 Greenford Road. His effects totalled £2,428-13s-0d.