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Boughton, Dunkirk & Hernhill
War Memorials


Private     G/5240

8th Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)

who died on 18 August 1916         Age 34

Private Ralph was born in Horselees Dunkirk in 1883, the son of William and Rosetta Ralph. At the time of the 1901 census he was working with his father as a a woodman. In January 1911 he married Jessie Allen, of Albion Cottage, The Street, Boughton, and at the time of the 1911 census he was working as a general labourer and they were living at 2 Grove Cottages, Colonel’s Lane, Boughton. Their daughter, not yet named, was one day old.

Private Ralph is remembered with honour at the Thiepval Memorial, Somme,  where his name appears amongst those inscribed on Pier and Face 5D.  He is also remembered with honour at the War Memorial at Dunkirk Church.

Private Ralph was killed during the Battle of the Somme. On 1 July 1916, supported by a French attack to the south, thirteen divisions of Commonwealth forces launched an offensive on a line from north of Gommecourt to Maricourt. Despite a preliminary bombardment lasting seven days, the German defences were barely touched and the attack met unexpectedly fierce resistance. Losses were catastrophic and with only minimal advances on the southern flank, the initial attack was a failure. In the following weeks, huge resources of manpower and equipment were deployed in an attempt to exploit the modest successes of the first day. However, the German Army resisted tenaciously and repeated attacks and counter attacks meant a major battle for every village, copse and farmhouse gained.  The Battle of the Somme finally ended on 18 November with the onset of winter.

The Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916.

The following item appeared in the Faversham and North East Kent News:

Private Albert Ralph, The Buffs, a married man who resided at Grove Cottages, Colonel’s Lane, Boughton, where his parents are also living, was killed in action on August 18th.  

He joined up in December 1914, and went to France about a year ago.  He was home on leave at the latter part of March, returning to the front early in April.  

Private Ralph was 34 years of age and leaves a wife and one child.

Photos - Owen


National Archives in association with Ancestry.com.  1901 and 1911 England census database.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission website: CWGC.org

Faversham and North Kent News

Dunkirk Parish Magazine

The Dunkirk Parish magazines of 1915/1916 briefly included a feature “NEWS FROM OUR BOYS SERVING WITH H.M. FORCES”, collected by the then headmaster of Dunkirk School W.V. Burgess. It includes the following mention of this man and his brother:

September 1915 - Albert Ralph is with the 8th Batt. Buffs at Farnborough.

December 1915 - Albert Ralph and Ernest Ralph are doing their "bit," one in the Buffs and the other in the R.E.K.M.R.


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