Tribute to Alfred, one of the last to fall

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A teenage soldier who was killed just a week before the First World War ended has been remembered in a ceremony at Burnley Town Hall.

Corporal Alfred Bennett Smith was just 19 years old in 1918 when he was mortally wounded by a German shell as he laid a telephone line to a forward position. He died on November 4th on his way to hospital.

Alfred worked at the town hall for the Burnley Town Clerk before signing up to the Army in 1915.

The Mayor of Burnley, Coun. Andy Tatchell, Burnley Council chief executive Steve Rumbelow and representatives from ex-servicemen’s organisations met at the town hall to remember Alfred’s bravery, which has been recorded on a banner as part of the wider commemoration of the centenary of the start of the conflict which claimed the lives of more than 4,000 local people.

The information on the banner was provided by local historian Andrew Gill.

The Mayor said: “Corporal Smith was one young man among many who bravely served their country during World War One. As the date the war started, August 4th, approaches it’s important we all remember their sacrifice.”

The borough will mark the start of the First World War with an event on Monday 4th August at Towneley Park.

A torchlight parade will make its way from 9.45pm through the park to the cenotaph where there will be a short ceremony, culminating in two minutes’ silence in memory of those who died.