Killed in the Line of Duty………….
Alfred’s story is going to be a bit different to the majority of the other stories that I have written. Alfred’s story has been written and told by one of the family members and I am indebted to Katie Barker and the extended Minter and Shirley families for allowing me to tell Alfred’s and their story and I am extremely grateful for all the wonderful family pictures that have been sent to me.
Alfred Edward Minter was born on 15th November 1894 in Penge, Kent to parents Thomas Henry Minter and Frances Emily Bailey, who were both born in the same area. Thomas was born on 3rd march 1871 in Beckenham Kent and worked as a labourer and journeyman housepainter. Thomas married Emily Bailey on 18th May 1891 in Christ Church, Penge in Kent.
(Thomas Henry Minter)
Frances Emily Bailey was born on 3rd April 1870 in Penge and they had twelve children, Alfred Edward Minter was the third oldest.
(Frances Emily Bailey)
In the 1901 census the Minter family are living at 15, Evelina Road in Penge.
(1901 Census for Penge in Kent)
(1911 Census for the Minter family)
In 1911 and until 1915 Alfred Edward Minter was living at home with his parents and worked as a house painter. He was 5ft 8 1/2″ with a mole on his left hip. As a civilian, his trade was as a painter but he signed up to fight in WW1 at Tottenham on 9th July 1915 (service number 100244) and was assigned to the 226th (Field) Company RENEF, as a sapper, then became a lance corporal of battalion 213. He married Annie Florence Shirley on 23rd September 1917 at Holy Trinity Church, Beckenham. They had two children: Alfred James, born 2nd June 1918 in Penge, who died in September 1990 in Bromley and Eileen Joyce. He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. He served in France from 1915 to 1917 when he was returned to England to hospital on 3rd June 1917 for 5 months. He was formally discharged and awarded a pension on 6th December 1919 as no longer physically fit for war service, due to gun shot wounds to the left shoulder, left leg and left thigh. Their address was then 20, Tennyson Road, Penge. Alfred died on 20th April 1941 in London as a civilian casualty of WW2, reported as the husband of Anne Minter of 48, Aylesford Avenue, Beckenham. He was a fireman of Beckenham AFS. The Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS) set up fire stations in buildings such as schools and garages and members of the AFS were given basic uniforms and worked with pumping units, such as trailer pumps. These would be towed by a vehicle like a Taxi and painted grey.
(Beckenham Fire Station)
He died at the Old Palace L.C.C School Poplar. He is remembered on the plaque situated at Beckenham Fire Station and on a memorial plaque at the Old Palace School to the 34 firemen killed in 1941 when the building, which was being used as a fire service sub-station received a direct hit. The Beckenham crew had only been sent there as relief as all the local groups were busy. The newspaper reports show the report from the local Beckenham newspaper, although his name is not listed. He is buried in a common grave at Elmers End Cemetery with 18 others and is remembered on the firefighters memorial which reads;
In freedoms cause sacred to the memory of twenty one gallant members of the Beckenham Auxilliary Fire Service killed by enemy action whilst on duty 19-20th April 1941. At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them.
(Memorial Plaque at the former site of the Old Palace School)
(Memorial Plaque outside Beckenham Fire Station)
Alfred is also named on the National Firefighters Memorial, to the South of St. Paul’s cathedral, in Sermon Lane, London. The National Memorial to the men and women of the United Kingdom Fire Service, who had made the ultimate sacrifice in the defence of the realm in World War 2, is the “Blitz” Memorial Statue. In 2003, the Memorial was elevated and the additional names of those lost in peacetime were inscribed in bronze on the raised base. Some 1,192 names were added to the bronze memorial.
(National Firefighters Memorial)
Sadly less than a year after Alfred died, his father, Thomas died aged 71 on 27th February 1942 at 65, Pawleyne Road, Penge, of chronic myocarditis and chronic bronchitis. His mother remained at the family home for a number of years and she died on 20th June 1964 at 65, Pawleyene Road, Penge. She died of acute uraemia (renal failure) and classic mistrial stenosis (heart failure). Alfred’s wife Annie died in December 1988 in Croydon.
Alfred was also distantly related to the boxer Alan Minter, he was Alfred’s 1st cousin, twice removed.
The following photographs have been kindly sent to me by Pat Purdey, Anne Kelly and Katie Barker from the extended Minter family and I am truly grateful to the family for all their generosity and help with this.
(Alfred Edward Minter)
(Alfred Edward Minter 1894)
(Alfred and his Army colleagues)
(A Poignant message)
(Alfred and Annie’s Wedding)
(Minter Family Group Shot)
(Alfred and Annie with one of their children)
(Alfred and Annie)
Alfred’s story is slightly different to the others, it has been directly written by the family themselves and really is a true tribute to the courage, bravery and sacrifice made by Alfred. A man willing to serve his country, not once but twice. Enlisting to serve in WW1 and then again volunteering when his country needed him most, as a Volunteer fireman with the Auxiliary Fire Service during WW2. A wife robbed of her husband, children robbed of their father and parents robbed of their son. I hope this website goes someway to keep Alfred and his fellow colleagues memories alive for the future generations.
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4 thoughts on “AFS Fireman Alfred Edward Minter”
Thank you so much, I have learnt so much more about Alfred and his family. I really appreciate the way you have written about him. He truly was a very brave man, I am so proud to be related to him. Your website will keep him and his family ‘alive’ for many years to come.
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Thanks Pat I am so pleased to hear that you are happy with the end result of Alfred’s story. It makes all the research so much more worthwhile when the families of the loved ones who gave the ultimate sacrifice when our country needed them most are involved in telling the story.