"Then we got an Order from the Captain.  I hope I never hear it repeated.  He gave us an Order to make a barricade of the dead - the German dead and our own dead.  We made a barricade of them and retreated about 40 yards back."

                                                                                                            Private William Holbrook                      

NORMAN ALFRED HEATH

Norman Alfred Heath, whose picture appears to the left, was the son of Alfred and Maria Heath and was born in 1887.   His brother Henry James Heath also appears in this site.  Norman and Henry had two other brothers, Alfred John and Arthur William and a sister Rose Ethel.  All were baptised at St Mary's Church, Riverhead.

 

At 29 years of age, Norman married Edith Adelaide Crowson (who was 28) on 20th January 1917 at St Mary's Church, Riverhead.

 

The 1911 census shows the Heath family residing at Sunnybank, Riverhead.  Alfred John is recorded in that census simply as John.  Norman's occupation is listed as "Gardener (domestic)".

Norman also appears on the memorial at Kingsbridge in Devon for reasons unknown.  The record of that memorial records his wife and her address as 25 London Road, Riverhead.  His parents' names are misdescribed in the online memorial record, apparently confused with the entry immediately below it.

 

Norman's records did not survive but it is known from his medal card that he enlisted in Maidstone.  He was first in the Hunts. Cyclist Battalion and then the Bedford Regiment.  Next he was in the 1st (City of London) Battalion (Royal Fusiliers). 

 

The Battalion diary for 27th August 1918 states that the 1st Battalion was in reserve.  There was an inspection and training but no action that may have resulted in his death.

 

However, the Roll of Individuals entitled to the Victory Medal reveals that he was transferred to the 2nd Battalion of the (City of London) Battalion (Royal Fusiliers) on 1st July 1918.

 

Unlike the 1st Battalion, the 2nd Battalion was very much in action on 27th August 1918 at the 2nd Battle of Arras in which it is almost certain he was killed.  The Second Battle of Arras was part of what was known as the 2nd Battle of the Somme and was part of the Allied 100 day offensive.  The background to and details of it are contained in the following link.

 

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