Alfred William Grimes

5th South Wales Borderers

Unit/Regiment South Wales Borderers
Battalion 5th (Service)
Rank Sergeant
Service Number 13890
Theatre of War first served in (1) France
Date of entry therein 17/07/1915
Age at Death 37
Date of Death 13/04/1918
Burial/Memorial Reference Tyne Cot Memorial Panel 65 to 66
CWGC Family Details Son of Ann Maria Grimes, of 75, Victoria St., Gloucester, and the late Ralph Grimes
SDGW – Where Born Gloucester, Glous.
Enlisted Newport, Mon
Resided Newbridge, Mon
How Died Killed in action
Theatre of War Western European Theatre
Medal Entitlement 1914-15 Star
British War Medal
Victory Medal
Notes Commemorated on the Celynen Collieries Roll of Honour

Alfred William Grimes' Story

South Wales Borderers cap badge



Alfred enlisted in the army and eventually rose to the rank of Sergeant (13890) with the 5th (Service) Bn. South Wales Borderers. It is very likely that he joined up on the same day as Thomas Abraham (13882), both left for France aboard the SS Empress Queen on the same day and tragically both were killed within a few days of eachother in April 1918.

After training, the Battalion arrived at Le Havre in France on 17/07/1915 as part of the 38th Brigade of the 19th Division. It soon became the Divisional Pioneer Battalion, and as such combined the duties of trench digging and mining with bombing and fighting.

The 5th Bn. fought at Loos in September 1915 and spent the winter repairing roads, constructing tramways, improving trenches, and in mining in close proximity to the enemy.

In 1916 the battalion saw numerous actions on the Somme, losing 220 men in the last ten days of July.

March 1917 saw the 5th Bn. moved up to Ypres to prepare for the attack on the Messines Ridge, their duties were to consolidate any captured positions and assist in preparing passage for the guns following the infantry, both of which resulted in the battalion engaging in fierce fighting. For their part in the successful Battle of Messines Ridge the battalion gained two MCs, two DCMs and two MM which shows the value of their work as both Pioneers and Infantrymen.

The battalion was heavily employed in the summer and autumn of 1917 during the third Battle of Ypres and at Passchendael.

In the great German attack of March 1918 the battalion fought a memorable action inflicting heavy losses on the enemy by determined counter-attacks and withdrawing steadily to positions which it had dug on previous days but at the cost of 150 casualties.

Alfred was killed in action in April 1918, the battalion war diary records his death as being on the 12th however Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 and subsequently the Commonwealth War Graves Commission list it as 13th April 1918