Service Number 84235
Battalion 196 (Heavy) Battery
Regiment Royal Garrison Artillery
Buried St James on the Corner Cemetery, Wetherby
Albert Edward Bridges was born in Ribston on the 24th May 1897, the son of William and Elizabeth Bridges, and brother of James Bridges who also served in the Great War.
By 1911, the family had moved to Wetherby and Albert, his parents and four brothers and one sister were living at Westgate, Wetherby. At a later date, Albert moved to live at Linton as he gave his address on his army documents in 1918, as No. 9, Linton.
Albert's military service in World War One began on the 12th December 1915, when he and his brother both attested for service, but he was not mobilised until the 22nd May 1916, and he enlisted on the 24th May 1916 as Driver 84235 Albert Edward Bridges of the Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA). The RGA was the branch of artillery responsible for the large artillery pieces.
On the 23rd June 1916, Albert was at No. 4 Depot, RGA ready for his posting, via 47 Company RGA on the 4th July 1916, to 196 (Heavy) Battery RGA on the 5th July 1916. During his period in 196 (H) Battery, Albert was granted leave, which he overstayed, and was punished for being late back on duty. Albert's life at this time was also marked by another punishment, this time on the 6th November 1916, for striking a horse with a whip stock.
On the 12th January 1917, 196(H) Battery were on the move and they embarked in Devonport and sailed, not for France, but for Salonika, which they reached, and disembarked on the 29th January 1917. The remainder of Albert's time during the war was in Salonika.
A hazard of war, at this time, in Salonika was not only the possibility of injury during fighting, but also illness, and Albert was unfortunate enough to contract malaria during his service. He was first admitted to a Field Ambulance with malaria on the 10th November 1918, and two days later, after the end of hostilities on the 13th November 1918 was admitted to 80 General Hospital. His recovery continued and he spent some time, from 21st November in a convalescent department. On the 14th December he returned to the Royal Artillery Base and on the 18th December was posted to 13 Heavy Battery RGA. At some time in the next few months, Albert returned to the UK as on 27th April 1919, he was with 13 Heavy Battery in Lydd. Albert was then posted to 1 Reserve Brigade in Dinchester, on his way to a dispersal camp in Ripon on the 18th September 1919 and he was finally discharged from the Army in Dover on the 15th October 1919.
After the war, Albert returned to the Wetherby area and lived here for many years - for example in 1939 he was living at 5 Northfields Avenue, Wetherby.
Albert died on the 23rd May 1972 and is buried in St.James on the Corner Cemetery, Wetherby.
1911 Census. The National Archives. Class RG14 Piece 25944
First World War Medal Index Cards. The National Archives (WO372).
First World War Medal Index Rolls. The National Archives (WO329).
First World War British Army Service Records. The National Archives (WO363).
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