Norwich – Rosary Cemetery (Alfred Edward Hubbard)

Alfred Edward Hubbard was born on 22 June 1889 and was baptised on 16 July 1889 at St. Peter Parmentergate in Norwich. He was the son of George Hubbard, who worked as a telegraph clerk, and Bertha Hubbard. The family lived on Synagogue Street, a street off Mountergate sadly now lost, although George Plunkett has a photo of how it looked.

Alfred was one of a large family, at the 1891 census he had older brothers Frank, Charles and Harry, along with older sisters Alice and Bertha. Tragedy hit the family in the 1890s with the death of George Hubbard, meaning that Bertha was left alone to support her family. A later census noted that she had six children and they were all still alive, which wasn’t all that common, often children died young.

At the 1901 census, Bertha ran a lodging house at 88 Chapelfield Road, living with her children Frank (working as a carpenter), Alice, Bertha (a pupil teacher), Henry (a clerk) and Alfred. By the time of the 1911 census, the family had moved to 73 St George’s Street, including Bertha and her children Frank (working as a carpenter), Alice, Bertha Constance (a teacher employed by Norwich City Council), Harry (a brewer’s clerk) and Alfred (now working as a teacher employed by Norfolk County Council).

In early 1915, Alfred married May Mann and they lived on Yarmouth Road in Caister-on-Sea. He joined the Norfolk Regiment, service number 15653.

Unfortunately, Hubbard’s war records are amongst those which were destroyed in an air raid during the Second World War, but he was in the 7th Battalion, which was formed of volunteers, also known as Kitchener’s Army. Alfred was injured in Hulluch, in northern France, in October 1915. The regimental records written in the field survive, although Hubbard isn’t specifically mentioned, but the above image is from that battalion in the Hulluch area from earlier in October 1915, showing the scale of the losses.

Copyright Imperial War Museum (45786).

This image is posted on Wikipedia, showing the state of the area between Loos and Hulluch in 1917. The British trenches are on the left, the German trenches on the right, with a now heavily damaged road going through them.

Alfred died on 19 December 1919, at the age of 30, likely because of the injuries occurred during the First World War. The inscription on his gravestone reads “having fought a good fight in life and war, rest on”. There aren’t that many burials of the war dead at the Rosary Cemetery in Norwich, they’re mostly at Earlham Cemetery, so this stood out amongst the nearby graves. The uniformity of war graves ensures their visibility in a graveyard, and is a reminder that in death everyone was equal regardless of rank.

It’s hard to imagine what Alfred’s brothers and sisters must have thought when standing at his graveside in late December 1919, it’s a far cry from the time of the 1911 census when they were all embarking on their new careers. And Alfred’s new career as a teacher was cut short, fighting a battle in a country to which he might never have otherwise visited.