b. 31/03/1894 4 King Street, Burslem, Staffordshire. d. 27/07/1976 Stoke, Staffordshire.
DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 30/03/1916 Gorre, France.
Albert Ford (1894-1976) was born on 31st March 1894 at 4 King Street, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, one of three children born to Albert Ford senior and Martha (nee Watkin). His father worked at the Royal Doulton Porcelain Factory as a jiggerer (the job entailed taking the clay bat and throwing it onto the plate mould). Following his schooling, young Albert followed in his father’s footsteps and served an apprenticeship as a jiggerer just prior to the outbreak of the Great War.
He, like his brother William, enlisted with the Royal Welch Fusiliers (Service Number 2584), being promoted to Sergeant in 1914. He married Annie Tunnicliffe, and they went on to have two daughters Lily and Gladys and a son named Arthur. Arthur later became a professional footballer wih Port Vale FC and Wolves before joining the Army himself. Albert was posted to the Western Front in France on 4th December 1915. His brother fought at Gallipoli and was present at the recapture of Kut and the taking of Baghdad.
On 30th March 1916, whilst with the 17th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers, at Gorre in France, Sergeant Ford was acting as an instructor for a bombing class when a member of the class threw his bomb too weakly and it hit the traverse in front of him, so that the smoking bomb fell into the trench. The man immediately ran away, knocking down Sergeant Ford. He at once recovered his feet, pushed past another man, and managed to pick up the bomb and throw it clear. It exploded immediately it left his left hand.
On 21st August 1917 Albert Ford along with Captain William Cheshire of the Lancashire Fusiliers, was awarded the Albert Medal of the Second Class for their gallantry in saving life in France. Ford was badly wounded two weeks after his action at Gorre, but recovered to see out the rest of the War, despite having a metal plate in his head. He was demobilised on 25th March 1919 from service in the British Army of the Rhine and returned to his pre-war employment at Royal Doulton.
Albert also ran a backstreet betting shop in his home at 38 Enoch Street in Burslem. The amounts placed on the horses were as small as 3d then the results were published in the Sentinel newspaper and winners would collect. Policemen were said to be some of his best customers!
In 1971, following a change in the Royal Warrant, Albert Ford was offered the chance to exchange his Albert Medal for a George Cross. He attended an investiture with his wife and daughters at Buckingham Palace on 18th July 1972, and donated his Albert Medal to the City Museum, Hanley, Stoke on Trent, where it is still on display. Albert died on 27th July 1976 at his home in Burslem, and was cremated at Carmountside Crematorium on 3rd August 1976. His ashes were scattered in the South-West section of the Garden of Remembrance. His medals including the GC, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-19, and Victory Medal 1914-20 are held by the Ford family privately.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: WITH RECIPIENT’S FAMILY.
BURIAL PLACE: CARMOUNTSIDE CREMATORIUM, MILTON, STOKE, STAFFORDSHIRE.
Marion Hebblethwaite – Image of Albert Ford GC at his GC investiture.