Rank or Title
Place of Birth
World War I Address
Place of Death
War Memorial Location
Soldier or Civilian
Cpl Albert Edward Napier, 14025, 3rd Battalion Royal Fusiliers, was killed in action trying to recover trenches on May 23rd, 1915. He was aged 23.
He was the youngest of four then serving sons of James and Ann Napier, who ran the Moor Path Tea Rooms at 58 New Bedford Road, Luton. He had been drafted from India at the outbreak of war.
In consequence of his son's death, Mr Napier created a patriotic display in his tea rooms, featuring monarchs and leading military figures from Allied nations. He also included a photograph of his son and the letter received from Sgt A. Gowers, of 5th Platoon, No 2 Company, 3rd Battalion Royal Fusiliers, informing him of the death. Under the letter Mr Napier had written: "Boys, he died doing his duty. Please do yours."
Sgt Gowers' letter read: "Dear Mr and Mrs Napier, I regret to have to inform you of the sad death of your son, the late Cpl Napier, who was killed in action on May 23rd, 1915. He met his death most nobly by the side of his comrade whilst attempting with the remainder of his company to regain a trench which we had lost during the earlier part of the day.
"He suffered a painless death, and he has been laid to rest by the side of his company comrade who also fell in the same action. He was liked by one and all of his company, which was No 2 Company, and everyone of us are with you in your sad bereavement."
At the time of Cpl Napier's death his eldest brother, John, was a Wheeler-Sgt in the Royal Garrison Artillery; brother William was with the 5th Battalion Staffordshire Regiment as a telephone operator at the Front; and third brother Frank, formerly a sergeant in the 9th Lancers, was with his old Boer War officer, Sir Richard Peak, in the Royal Devon Yeomanry. Their father was an ex-Naval man who had joined the Luton Volunteer Corps.
Cpl Napier is included on the Luton Roll of Honour, together with a brother who enlisted later. The Commonwealth War Grave Commission records that Pte Ernest (Farrigh) Napier, 291545, Herts Regiment, was killed on September 21st, 1918 (Vis-en-Artois Memorial). The CWGC gives the family address for Albert as Spinney House, Dunstable Road, Luton.