b. 01/12/1892 Liverpool. d. 19/05/1917 Monchy-le-Preux, France.
Albert White (1892-1917) was born on 1st December 1892 at 62 Teulon Street, Kirkdale, Liverpool. His father, Thomas, was born in Dundee, Scotland, and he moved to Liverpool in 1881 and became a railway porter. He married Elizabeth “Eliza” Ann nee Falls on 26th March 1883 at St Nicholas Church, Liverpool. She was a domestic servant prior to marriage and she and Thomas had seven children between 1887 and 1903.
Albert was educated at Everton Terrace Industrial School, Liverpool, and he was then employed as a merchant seaman, working as a trimmer aboard the White Star liner SS Laurentic in 1910. He enlisted with the 3rd South Lancashire on 25th July 1910, but his service was short-lived as he deserted from the Depot at Warrington, Lancashire on 6th October. He enlisted with the RAMC on 23rd October 1914 and transferred to 2nd South Wales Borderers on 1st June 1915. He served with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force from 30th June and was at Gallipoli from 21st July, including Suvla in August. He returned to Egypt in January 1916 and moved to France on 17th March. He was promoted to Sergeant on 2nd July 1916. He was offered a commission and returned to Britain on 10th January 1917 for training, but withdrew because he could not afford the expense due to supporting his younger siblings Jessie, Edward and Florence from his wages. He returned to France on 17th April 1917.
On 19th May 1917 at Monchy-le-Preux, France, Sergeant White, realizing during an attack that one of the enemy’s machine-guns, which had previously not been located, would hold up the whole advance of his company, dashed ahead to capture the gun. When within a few yards of it, he fell riddled with bullets, having willingly sacrificed his life in an attempt to secure the success of the operation.
Sadly, Albert’s body was not recovered, and he is commemorated on the Arras Memorial. As he never married, his VC was presented by King George V to his father outside Buckingham Palace on 21st July 1917. In addition to his VC, he was also awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-20 and Victory Medal 1914-19. His VC is held privately.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: NOT PUBLICLY HELD.
BURIAL PLACE: NO KNOWN GRAVE – ON ARRAS MEMORIAL, FRANCE. BAY 6.
James O’Hanlon – Images of White VC Stone and its accompanying information board at Church of St Nicholas, Liverpool.