Service Number 57597
Regiment Royal Air Force
Alfred Edward Russell was born on the 30th January 1880 in South Shields, the son of James Matthias Russell, a curate, and his wife, Hannah Maria Russell (nee Robertshaw). Alfred was baptised in St. Thomas Church, Westoe, Durham on the 4th March 1880. In April 1881, at the time of the census, Alfred and his parents and their other children, James F. W. Russell, Elizabeth and Harold, were living at 9 Hostel Terrace, Hexham with a domestic servant, Ann J. Bell.
Other brothers and sisters were born in the coming years; William Francis in 1882, Margaret Ethelwyn, in 1884, and Agnes Annie Irene in 1887, all born in Hexham.
In 1891, the family are still living at 9 Hostel Terrace, James is listed as curate of Hexham and an author and James F.W. Russell is an architect's clerk. The rest of the children are listed as scholars. Ten years later, in 1901, Alfred and his brother, James F Russell, had left the family home and were boarders with Thomas E Bell, a plumber and gas fitter, at 13 Marianople Street in St.Andrew, Northumberland. James F was 26 and a civil engineer and Alfred was 21 and was an importer's clerk. A further 10 years later, on census day 1911, Alfred was listed as a visitor staying at Weeton Vicarage, Leeds with Claude Alfred Lambert, the 60 year old widower vicar of Weeton, his daughter Christine Mary Lambert Lambert, his son Hugh John Lionel Lambert and a domestic servant, Margaret Walls.
Interestingly, just about a year later, on the 9th October 1912, Alfred Edward Russell married Christine Mary Lambert Lambert in St.Barnabas Church, Weeton. Alfred was a 32 year old bachelor, working as an assurance secretary and his wife Christine was a 32 year old spinster. Both fathers, James Matthias Russell and Claude Alfred Lambert were listed on the marriage certificate as clerks in holy orders.
Within a year, Alfred and Christine had moved to Collingham and their first child, Eileen Mary Lambert Russell was born in Collingham on the 28th September 1913. A sad event for the family took place at the start of 1914 when Alfred's mother died, in Alnwick, Northumberland, but family life continued during the first part of the war and the couple's second child, Edward Francis Lambert Russell, was born in Collingham on the 18th September 1916.
Around this time, Alfred was called up for military service with an entry date given as 1st November 1916, however he was not mobilised until the 6th January 1917 when he entered the Royal Flying Corps as an Aircraftman second class with a service number of 57597. On the 1st August 1917, ALfred was promoted to First Class Aircraftman and on the 1st April 1918, Alfred was transferred from the Royal Flying Corps to the newly formed Royal Air Force and became a clerk.
We do not know much of his service in the war, but on the 9th January 1919 he was in Woking and on the 23rd March 1919 was in Ripon. Alfred was discharged to the reserve on the 30th April 1920. The family continued to live in the Wetherby area, and unfortunately Alfred Edward Russell died in the area, aged 42, in 1922.
First World War Airmen's Service Records. The National Archives (AIR79).
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