1887 - 1917
ALBERT VICTOR CLIFT (known as Victor) was born in 1887 at Bocking, Braintree and baptised at St Mary the Virgin Parish Church in Bocking on the 4th September 1887. He was one of 9 children born to James and Emily Clift (née Gowers) who lived at Waterfall Lodge, Langleys, Great Waltham. James was a Coachman on the household staff at Langleys. Albert had six brothers and two sisters and was the second youngest child. His parents were born in the village and were married in the Parish Church on the 6th December 1871. James’ occupation was given as a Labourer.
MARRIAGE OF JAMES CLIFT AND EMILY GOWERS
BAPTISM OF ALBERT CLIFT AT BOCKING
In 1911, Albert, a Domestic Groom, was lodging with Albert and Mary Robinson, a Journeyman Butcher, in the village of Felsted. Albert was 22 years old. He met and married Annie Baker, a Felsted girl, when she was 25 years old, on the 6th January 1912 in the Church of the Holy Cross, at Felsted.
MARRIAGE OF ALBERT CLIFT AND ANNIE BAKER
‘Victor’ and Annie had three children whilst living at Gannetts Cottages, Felsted, Florence Emily, born 21st March 1912 (quite soon after their marriage), James Frederick born 12th October 1913 and Harold, born on the 8th March 1917.
Victor enlisted at Warley Barracks, as a Gunner, Regimental No. 41943 and using his skills with horses and as a groomsman, joined the 12th Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery. The RHA was armed with light, mobile, horse-drawn guns that in theory provided firepower in support of the cavalry and in practice supplemented the Royal Field Artillery, to which Albert was transferred.
The Royal Field Artillery was responsible for the medium calibre guns and the howitzers deployed close to the front line and were reasonably mobile. The Brigade went to France on the 11th September 1914 and landed at St Nazaire. They moved at once to the Aisne to reinforce the hard-pressed British Expeditionary Force. They moved north to Flanders and were in action at Hooge in 1915. In 1916 they were again in action at Battle of Flers-Courcelette on The Somme, and again in The Battle of Morval and The Battle of Le Transloy.
Death and Memorial
Victor was promoted to Acting Bombardier, before he died of wounds on the 16th June 1917, aged 39 years.
He was buried at Underhill Farm Cemetery, Comines-Warneton, Hainaut, Belgium
The cemetery was begun in June 1917 and used until January 1918. It fell into German hands in the spring of 1918, when it was used under the name of "The Military Cemetery at the foot of the Nightingale Hill". The cemetery was recovered in September 1918 and used again for Commonwealth burials until October.
Victor is also remembered on the Great Waltham War Memorial (Victor A Clift) and the Felsted War Memorial in the Chapel.
Medal Card For Albert Clift
He was awarded the Victory Medal, British Medal and the 1914 Star and Clasp.
UK Army Soldiers Effects
His widow, Annie received £8.0s.1d Gratuity payment on the 25th October 1917, with a later payment on the 5th December of £3.10s.8d. On the 5th November 1919 she was awarded a final payment of £17.10s. and on the same day she gave birth to a son Arthur John.
She married Arthur's father, Albert’s brother, Frederick James in late 1922 at Dunmow. Another son, Stanley Hubert was born on the 29th March 1923.
Victor’s parents, James and Emily, celebrated their Golden Wedding in April 1922 and of the five of their sons who served in the war, they lost two and two were severely wounded and one came home.