Albert was born on 28th August 1899 in the St Giles area of Reading, Berkshire to parents Albert and Kate Ethel Haden. Albert was the eldest of three children - one sibling which was stillborn and his younger sister Gladys, born in 1901 died aged 5.
On the 1911 census Albert was recorded living at 60 Pell Street Reading along with his parents and another unrelated family of 3. Albert attended school and Albert Snr worked as a labourer in a biscuit factory.
It is likely that Albert enlisted with the Royal Marine Artillery due to the death of his father in June 1915 to support his mother. He signed up in Southampton on 26th October 1915 giving his birth year as 1897, making him 18 years old, but he was actually just 16 (there is no entry of birth of his name in 1897, only 1899). He measured 5’8” tall with brown hair and dark brown eyes, and was noted with a birthmark on the back of his head.
Albert’s training commenced as a Private, rising to Gunner 2nd Class on 19th March 1916. He joined his first and only ship, HMS Vanguard, on 14th October 1916. He must have felt relief for his mother while he was away from home as she married again in December 1916 to Frank Hitchin. Sadly she was to lose the last remaining member of her family when the ship exploded in July 1917, Albert killed aged just 17 and not 19 as mentioned in records.
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Birth & Death Registers of England - Free BMD & GRO
1911 England Census
British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960 National Archives Admiralty: Naval Casualties,War Grave Rolls and Statistics Book, First World War.; Class: ADM 242/ 009 (1914 - 1919)
National Archives of the UK; Admiralty and predecessors: Office of the Director General of the Medical Department of the Navy and predecessors: Service Registers and Registers of Deaths and Injuries. Registers of Reports of Deaths
Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914-1919 TNA Series: ADM 242/9; Scan Number: 0745
Royal Marines Registers of Service Index, 1842-1925 - National Archives
Photo copyright - Windsor Chronicle/British Newspaper Archives