Albert Edward's Story.
Albert Edward Newton was born in Wincle, near Macclesfield, in 1889, the son of Ann and Thomas Newton, a farmer of Danebridge Lane, Wincle.
By 1901 the family had moved to the Plough Inn, Sutton, near Macclesfield, where Thomas Newton was the publican. Ten years later, the 1911 census showed that Thomas had changed his occupation again - he was a gamekeeper - and 21-year-old Albert was working as a butcher and living at Jarmans Cottages with his parents and siblings Percy (15), Elsie (11), Doris (9), Edgar (7) and Florence (5).
In 1912 Albert married Sarah Ann Slack at St George's Church, Sutton, south Macclesfield, and the couple lived nearby at 45 St George's Street, Sutton. They had two children.
Albert enlisted into the Royal Field Artillery in February 1917 and was drafted overseas about six months later. He was killed on 15 February 1918 when a shell hit his gun position. The news of Albert's death was printed in the Macclesfield Times on 22 February 1918:
LOCAL BUTCHER'S FATE - A GOOD SOLDIER
News has this week been received by Mrs Newton, 45 St George's St, that her husband, Corporal Albert Edward Newton, Royal Field Artillery, was killed in action... on the afternoon of February 15th... Corporal Newton was exceedingly well-known in the town, particularly in the Sutton area, having for many years carried on business as a butcher in Cross St. He was 28 years of age and was educated at St James School. He enlisted in February 1917, and had been serving in France over six months. He had been in the Army just twelve months on the day he was killed. Two brothers-in-law are serving in France.
Albert's death was also reported the next day in the Macclesfield Courier:
CORPORAL A NEWTON
Mrs Newton, of 45 St George's St, has received news that her husband, Corporal Albert Newton... was killed in action on February 15th... Corporal Newton, who was 28 years of age, enlisted on February 15th, 1917, and had been in France about six months. He was educated at St James's School, Sutton, and prior to enlistment carried on business as a butcher at 63 Cross Street. The deceased soldier leaves a wife and one child.
Further information about Albert's death was printed in the Macclesfield Times the following week:
THE LATE CORPORAL NEWTON - A GOOD SOLDIER
Mrs Newton, who resides at 45 St Georges Street, has this week received the following letter from the chaplain: "... I must have been among the last who spoke to him, as I was visiting round the gun position, and actually went into his gun-pit only an hour or so before the fatal shell struck it. Your husband was such a bright and cheery nature, so loved and respected by the whole battery, that his loss will be most severely felt; it was he who at Christmas-time killed the pigs for the Christmas dinner, and he was always ready and willing to do anything that wanted doing. Friday afternoon, when he was killed, was a beautiful bright crisp afternoon, after a raw misty morning, and it was just such a day yesterday (February 17th) when I laid the three of them to rest in Wieltje Cemetery No. 2..."
Corporal Albert Newton is buried in Grave Ref. V. F. 9. of Oxford Road Cemetery in Belgium; his remains, along with those of his comrades, were moved there from Wieltje Cemetery No. 2 after the end of the war. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Corporal Albert Newton, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
Locally, Corporal Albert Newton is commemorated on the Macclesfield Park Green, Town Hall, St Michael's Church and St George's Church war memorials, and on the Sutton Walker Lane, St James Church and St James School war memorials.
GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births, Marriages
Census (England & Wales): 1891, 1901, 1911
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Macclesfield Times: 22 February 1918, 1 March 1918, 23 September 1921 (photo supplement)
Macclesfield Courier: 23 February 1918