Alfred William Grimster

Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)
Date of death 
20 April 1917
Age of death 
489 High Road
E11 4PG
Address source 
1911 Census
Cemetery / Memorial 

Born in 1899 at Leytonstone, son of Alfred William (Working Tailor, later Master Tailor & Shopkeeper) and Elizabeth Ellen Grimster. 1901: With his family at 1 Beulah Road, Leyton. 1911: A Scholar with his family at 489 High Road, Leytonstone. It is recorded that he enlisted at Woodford, initially in the London Regiment before transferring to the Machine Gun Corps.

158 Machine Gun Company was formed on 26th April 1916, and allocated to 158 (North Wales) Brigade of 53rd (Welsh) Division. In 1917 the Division was part of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. Some successes allowed the Force to begin the task of pushing the Turks out of Egypt and Palestine. Unfortunately they were determined fighters, and there followed two British defeats at the 1st (26th March) and 2nd (17/19 April) Battles of Gaza. It has been said that the former was a defeat snatched from the jaws of victory.

Alfred Grimster Died from Wounds on 20th April 1917, suggesting he was a victim of the 2nd Battle of Gaza. However, 158 Brigade played no significant role in that action compared the 1st battle in March. His body was not recovered to one of the cemeteries in the area, and so he is commemorated on the Gaza Memorial.

His exact connection to South Woodford remains unclear.

Research by Adrian Lee, Local Historian