Alfred C Ambrose D.C.M.
Rank: Lance Corporal
Number: 267507
Unit: 1/6th Battalion SEAFORTH HIGHLANDERS
Date of Death: 20 July 1918
Age: 22
Cemetery: Soissons Memorial, Aisne, France

Alfred was the youngest son of John & Kate Ambrose of 122 Long Lane (later Wilmslow Road), and the brother of John Ambrose who is also commemorated on the Long Lane War Memorial.

Hundreds of men with Scottish ancestry wanted to form Manchester Scottish battalions of the "Pals" units being recruited in 1915. This idea did not find favour. Many potential recruits travelled to Scotland to enlist.  Subsequently, a number of Battalion recruiting officers travelled to Manchester and this is probably why Alfred was a member of a Highland Regiment. He probably joined the Seaforths in April 1916 (original service number 5144).

He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal and promoted to Lance Corporal in 1918. The London Gazette, 3rd September 1918, gave his citation:-

"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during an enemy attack. His section leader becoming a casualty, he assumed command of the section and a party of stragglers and by fine powers of leadership, he controlled this party splendidly and inflicted severe losses on the enemy."

Alfred's bravery is not specifically mentioned in his Battalion's War Diary, so it is impossible to establish exactly where and when his act occurred. It is probable, however, that it was some during the German offensive, known as the Battle of Estaires, 9 - 11 April 1918.

In the early morning of 19 July 1918, the Battalion was near the village of Oger, some 30 miles south of Reims, in the Champagne region of France and was ordered into a reserve position. They reached the designated spot, near a wood, by dawn on the 20th and remained there until 1pm whilst an attack was carried out by neighbouring units. They then moved forward, still in reserve, throughout the afternoon. At 5.30pm, they received orders to take over the front line, but it was not until 4am the next day that they reached this position as their guide lost his way. Over the previous 24 hours, 9 men, including Alfred, had been killed, most probably by enemy shellfire. Alfred will have been buried by his comrades but, presumably, due to the front line moving quite quickly, knowledge of its precise location may have been lost. He is commemorated on a Memorial to the Missing.

(Note: Original research by John Hartley for the Cheadle & Gatley War memorials website). Updated: February 2008

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