b. 25/02/1835 Meerut, India. d. 28/12/1872 Chiswick, London.
Alfred Kirke Ffrench (1835-1872) was born in Meerut, India on 25th February 1835, where his father, Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Ffrench was commanding the 53rd Regiment of Foot (later Shropshire Regiment). It was little surprise therefore, when after a private education, Alfred enrolled at the Royal Military College at Sandhurst, where he decided to enter his father’s old regiment, the 53rd, on the 10th February 1854 as an Ensign.
He was promoted to Lieutenant on 21st October 1855, and would serve throughout the Indian Mutiny campaign, though most notably during the Siege and Relief of Lucknow in November 1857. The 53rd Regiment were given the task of storming the Secundra Bagh on 16th November 1857, and managed to capture an important position on the right flank. Ffrench’s action is not fully known other than his citation of 24th December 1858, he states he was “one of the first to enter the buildings, and his conduct was highly praised by the whole company.” In fact, it was the company who elected him by ballot for the VC. There is sadly no record of any presentation of his medal, so it is thought he received it by mail whilst in India.
Ffrench went on to be promoted to Captain in 1863, and eventually served in the garrison on the island of Bermuda with the 53rd. Whilst on service in Bermuda in the autumn of 1872, he fell ill, and was invalided back to London to recuperate. Sadly, his condition worsened and he died on 28th December, aged just 37. He was buried in Brompton Cemetery. His medal is held by the Shropshire Regiment Museum, Shrewsbury Castle.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: SHROPSHIRE REGIMENT MUSEUM, SHREWSBURY CASTLE.
BURIAL PLACE: BROMPTON CEMETERY, LONDON.
COMPARTMENT AD, 8′ X 104’6” GRAVE 69995
Kevin Brazier – Brompton Cemetery Plan.