Rank or Title
Date of Birth
Date of Death
22 Aug 1915
War time / or Pre War occupation
Place of Birth
World War I Address
Place of Death
War Memorial Location
Soldier or Civilian
Pte Alfred Richard ("Tommy") Cousins, 4461, 1/5th Beds Regt, was killed in action at Gallipoli on August 22nd, 1915. He was aged 20, just a few days short his 21st birthday.
The son of Richard and Susan Cousins, of 47a Chapel Street, Luton, he was an old boy of Christ Church School (where his father was caretaker ) and had been employed as a clerk at Messrs Hayward Tyler in Crawley Green Road between leaving school and enlisting.
News of his death came initially from Sapper Russell Gregory, serving with the 1st Signal Company, East Anglian Royal Engineers, in a letter dated August 25th to his own parents at 98 Ashton Road, Luton. In it he wrote: "I was talking with him [Pte Cousins] two mornings ago when a shell burst and killed him instantly. I got his cap badge off his hat, and I thought if I sent it home to you, you would ask Hilda [an older sister] to give it to his sister [Elsie Cousins], with whom she used to work, so they can at least have a remembrance of the noble death he died."
Pte Cousins was described as an enthusiastic worker in connection with Christ Church, having been a member of the choir and a Sunday school teacher. He had also acted as assistant secretary to the local branch of the Junior Imperial League, and among a large circle of friends he was generally known as "Tommy".
The last letter from him to arrive at home was dated August 20th. In it he wrote: "The regiment is progressing well, but I am afraid to mention anything about them is to ask for the thick black line of the censor across it. The only thing I can say is that I am more than proud of them."
Major James Farquhar, of the headquarters staff of the 54th Division, wrote to his Mr Cousins: "He had been sent up with others to open up an advanced report centre for the headquarters of his Division, which he was serving as clerk. Just as he arrived at this place the enemy fires shells at us, and he was hit in the neck, being killed instantaneously. He was buried close by the same day, the service being read by a clergyman attached to another infantry brigade close by.
"I should like to tell you how exceedingly sorry I was to hear of your son's death. He did his work in the headquarters office very well indeed...and died for his country just as much as anyone who took a more, as it were, active part in the war, and I think you have reason to be proud not only of your son in life but also of his death."