Rank or Title
Date of Birth
Date of Death
23 Aug 1916
War time / or Pre War occupation
Place of Birth
World War I Address
Place of Death
War Memorial Location
Soldier or Civilian
Cpl Alfred John Axtell, 19/312, 19th Northumberland Fusiliers (Tyneside Pioneers) was killed by an explosive shell on August 23rd, 1916, during the British advance on the Somme.
Born in Dunstable in 1888, he later lived with parents Alfred and Martha Hannah (nee Ramsden) at 19 Biscot Road, Luton, and attended Old Bedford Road Boys' School, where he was a pupil teacher. After attending Westminster Training College, he became an assitant master at an elementary school in County Durham and lodged with a family at Dunston-on-Tyne, near Gateshead.
He joined the Northumberland Fusiliers at Newcastle-on-Tyne in the early days of the war, and left for France in January 1916.
Writing to Cpl Axtell's parents in Luton, Cpl A. Ellingham said they were at work consolidating some recently taken positions on the evening of the 23rd while the enemy were shelling their approach. While moving towards his work, a high explosive shell exploded close to where Alfred was, wounding four men.
"Since then Alf has not been seen or heard of, and it is greatly feared that he was killed," said the letter writer. "Sgt Davidson and I have made inquiries at the Dressing Stations to find out if he had been brought in for treatment, and we would have gladly gone back to look for him but our officers considered it too dangerous and refused us permission. Thus, after these few days of inquiries and waiting, nothing has come to hand to give us any hope."