|1. Memorial:||Ramscappelle Road Military Cemetery||II. B. 21.|
|2. Website:||Comrades Lodge No. 2976.|
|3. Book:||The Masonic Roll of Honour 1914-1918|
Awards & Titles:
|Mentioned in Despatches |
Queen's South Africa Medal 3 Clasps
Early Life :Lieut.-Col. E. A. B. Alston was the fourth son of the late Surgeon Maj. William Evelyn Alston, M.D., J.P. and Elizabeth Alston, of Eastcliffe House, Sandgate, Kent. By 1891 he is resident as a 13 year old at East End House, Sandgate, Kent with siblings Lila Elizabeth (20), Arthur Lawsett (18) - a student of theology and Dora Gladys Anamae (11), together with 4 servants.
In 1911, he was barracked with the 2nd Northamptonshire Regiment. He recorded as being single.
Married Eileen (nee Hunter) formerly of 25, Iverna Court, Kensington, W., and now Mrs.Trevor Finnis, of 9, Kensington Crescent, W. London on 22nd Mar 1916. By this time he had been promoted by this time to Major in the Northamptonshire Regiment.
Family :Eileen Hunter b.1885 - nee Sykes. Married in 1916 when resident at 68 Palace Road. W.London. Father was Robert Samuel Hunter, a Merchant. She possibly remarried and became Eileen Finnis husband of Shirley Park Hotel, East Croydon.
Education & Career :
Entering the Tonbridge School in May, 1893, he was educated there 1893-94 (Parkside). He left at the age of sixteen at Easter, 1894, and entered the Militia in the following year and spent his life as a career soldier.
- The Second Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902, South Africa.
- The First World War 1914-1918, World-wide.
|Unit :||10th (Service) Battalion Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry|
|Action :||The Battles of Ypres 1917 (Third Ypres, or Passchendaele)|
Hart's Annual Army List for 1915 lists Ernest as being in the Special Reserve Regiment 3rd Battalion with his entry reading -
Alston - Ernest Alfred Brooke, Captain 3rd Bt.
2nd Lieutenant. 18 Oct 1899
Lieutenant. 15 June 1901
Captain. 3rd Bt. 26 July 1908
Captain. 2nd Bt. 26 July 1908
Major 1st September, 1915.
LlEUT.-COL. ERNEST ALFRED BROOKE ALSTON, MAJOR, NORTHAMPTONSHIRE REGT. 0.0. 10TH BATTN. DUKE OF CORNWALL'S LIGHT INFANTRY. KILLED IN ACTION NEAR DUNKIRK, AUGUST 11TH, 1917. AGED 39.
At the outbreak of the South African War he was gazetted to a commission in the Northamptonshire Regiment, with which he served in South Africa, 1899-1900, being present at the Battles of Belmont, Graspan, and Modder River, and receiving the Queen's Medal with three clasps. He was promoted to his Captaincy in July, 1908, and soon after the outbreak of war was gazetted as Temporary Major, October 29th, 1914, to the 5th Battn. (Pioneers) of his own Regiment, and went to the Front with this Battalion in May, 1915.
He was promoted to substantive rank as Major, September 1st, 1915, took part in the Actions of the Hohenzollern Redoubt in October, 1915, subsequent to the Battle of Loos, and was mentioned in Despatches for services in France in 1915. On May 1st, 1916, he was appointed as Temporary Lieut.-Colonel to the command of the 10th (Service) Battn. of the Duke of Cornwall's L.I. With the exception of six weeks in England after he took over this command, whilst his new Battalion were completing their training, he was on continuous active service abroad from May, 1915, till the day of his death. He commanded this Battalion in the Battles of the Somme, 1916, and in the Battles of Arras in April and May, 1917, and finally on the Belgian Coast, after being for a time in the neighbourhood of the Ypres Salient. He was again mentioned for distinguished services in Sir D. Haig's Despatch dated November 11th, 1916, and published on January 1st, 1917, and a third " mention" appeared after his death, in the Despatch dated November 7th, 1917.
On August 11th, 1917, he and the Major, second in command, and the Adjutant, were asleep at the Battalion Headquarters, near Dunkirk, several miles behind the front line, when the hut was struck by two shells, and he and the Major were instantaneously killed, and the Adjutant mortally wounded. His last thought had been for the guard, whom he had ordered to take cover.
He was buried in St. George's Cemetery, Newport, Dunkirk. The Medical Officer wrote expressing the heartfelt sympathy of the whole Battalion and their great sense of loss, adding that he had been constantly with Col. Alston and had learned to know and to admire him as a true friend. Capt. H. L. Stanistreet, O.T. (P.H. 1914), who was one of his Company Commanders, after telling of their great loss, wrote:- "It is hardly necessary to add that the CO. is a very sad loss to the Battalion as he was so popular amongst the officers and men." The CO. of the 5th Northamptonshires, under whom he served for a year and a half - wrote:- " It seems incredible that one won't see his genial, cheery face again. He was a gallant officer and nothing ever upset his natural cheerfulness. . . . No one could possibly help liking him, and he was a general favourite with every one. When he was with us I have seen him in one or two pretty hot places, but he was always smiling and joking, and had a cheery word for every one "a most gallant officer and a thorough gentleman."
East Kent Gazette - 25 August 1917 - "Lieut.-Colonel Ernest Alfred Brooke Alston, Northampton Regiment, attached D.C.L.I., killed on August 11th, was the fourth son of the late Surgeon-Major and Mrs. W.E. Alston, of Sandgate. Born in 1877, he was educated at Tonbridge School. He entered the Militia in 1895, and was gazetted from there to a commission in the Northampton Regiment, with whom he served during the South African War, being awarded the Queen's medal with three clasps. In May, 1915, he went to France with a battalion of the Northamptonshire Regt. as major, and a year later was given command of a battalion of the D.C.L.I. He had been on continuous active service from May, 1915, until the day of his death, and had twice mentioned in dispatches."
See also: Northampton Museums Service.
31 July - 10 November 1917. By the summer of 1917 the British Army was able for the first time to fight on its chosen ground on its terms. Having secured the southern ridges of Ypres at Messines in June, the main attack started on 31st July 1917 accompanied by what seemed like incessant heavy rain, which coupled with the artillery barrages conspired to turn much of the battlefield into a bog. Initial failure prompted changes in the high command and a strategy evolved to take the ring of ridges running across the Ypres salient in a series of 'bite and hold' operations, finally culminating in the capture of the most easterly ridge on which sat the infamous village of Passchendaele. The Official History carries the footnote ?The clerk power to investigate the exact losses was not available? but estimates of British casualties range from the official figure of 244,000 to almost 400,000. Within five months the Germans pushed the British back to the starting line, which was where they had been since May 1915.
|Type||Lodge Name and No.||Province/District :|
|Mother :||Aldershot Army and Navy No. 1971 E.C.||Hampshire & IOW|
|Joined :||St. John & St. Paul No. 349 E.C.||Malta|
|Joined :||Comrades Lodge No. 2976 E.C.||Essex|
30th October 1905
8th December 1905
25th January 1906
His mother Lodge is Army and Navy Lodge in Aldershot when he was resident in Northampton and as a Lieutenant; and he maintains a membership with them until his death. in the notes of the register at United Grand Lodge of England it shows "Died 31st August 1918".
Joined Comrades Lodge No. 2976 in Colchester as a Lieutenant on 15th April 1907 and resigned on 11th January 1911.
Joined St. John and St. Pauls Lodge No. 349 in Malta on 4th March 1911, as a Captain. His membership here was short-lived at this Lodge having resigned on 16th November 1911.
The project globally acknowledges the following as sources of information for research across the whole database:
- The Commonwealth War Graves Commission
- The (UK) National Archives
- Ancestry.co.uk - Genealogy, Family Trees & Family History online
- ugle.org.uk - The records of the United Grand Lodge of England including the Library and Museum of Freemasonry
Document : 1933 - Masonic Roll of Honour - Freemasons' Hall Vestibule - United Grand Lodge of England Web : www.thekingscandlesticks.com Web : TONBRIDGE SCHOOL AND THE GREAT WAR Researcher : Bruce Littley Researcher : Paul Masters