Robert Elgar DATLEN Alice Roberta DATLEN Charles George DATLEN Emily DATLEN Mary Ann DATLEN William Edward DATLEN Frederick DATLEN Louise DATLEN Emma Jane DATLEN Francis Laura Jessie DATLEN Isabel DATLEN Ellen DATLEN Alice J BROOMFIELD Walter James DATLEN Mary Ann LAWRANCE Mini tree diagram

Albert DATLEN1

14th Dec 18821,2 - Dec 1957

Store Keeper

Life History

14th Dec 1882

Born in Presumed Dover, Kent, UK..1,2


Occupation Scholar.2


Resident in 1&2 Limekiln Cottage, Dover St Mary Virgin, Kent, England.2


Occupation Fish curer working at home.3


Resident in 3 Limekiln Cottages, Limekiln Street, Dover, Kent, England.3


Occupation Disengaged Dock Labourer


Resident in 69 Limekiln Street, Dover, Kent, England


Occupation Store Keeper


Physical description Height 5ft 6.25in; 36 inch chest


Resident in 69 Limekiln Street, Dover, Kent, England

about 1930

Married Alice J BROOMFIELD in Dover, Kent, England

Dec 1957

Died in Ashford, Kent, England


  • Albert Datlen - Private 49121 - 2nd Northamptonshire Regiment

    On the 5th May 1917, Albert Datlen was sent a Statutory Order forMilitary Service. He was required to present himself for examinationat the Buffs Depot in Canterbury on 21st May 1917 at 11 O'clock in themorning.

    Albert enlisted on 13th July 1917 he gave his address as 69 LimekilnStreet, Dover and his age as 34 years 213 days. He was single andemployed as a store keeper (There is a word written in brackets afterstore keeper which I cannot make out but probably indicates the typeof store he kept). He indicated his preference to join the RoyalEngineers but he was posted to the Northamptonshire Regiment, 26th Treserve battalion of St Albans

    His medical report describes him as being 5 foot 6 1/4 inches tall,with a 36inch chest measurement. He gave his next of kin as hisfather, Robert Elgar Datlen also of 69 Limekiln Street, Dover.

    After four months training, Albert was posted to 3rd (reserve)battalion. He was sent to France on the 14th January 1918, where hewas posted with the 7th Service Battalion, and then to the 2ndBattalion, Northamptonshire Regiment. The regiment were attached tothe 24th Brigade of the 8th division and formed part of the Fifth Armyduring the battles of the Somme.

    On the 1st March 1918, following a snow storm, the battalion moved outof California Camp to relieve the 1st Sherwood Foresters in the frontline. The enemy was very quiet and no casualties were reported. Thefollowing day they received a visit from Brigadier General Haig. Thatnight at 6pm news came through that the regiment to their right, the2nd Middlesex, received a raid which resulted in casualties and  laterat 9pm,  the regiment to their left, the 1st Division, were alsoraided.

    On the 6th March the battalion were relieved and retreated to Wattou.Here, they occupied themselves with training, cleaning up and playingsports such as boxing, football and rugby. On the 13th March theymoved out and travelled west by train from Abeele station on theBelgium border to Lumbres, France. From here they marched north toBoisdinghem Aerodrome where they spent eight days training and playingsports.

    On the 22nd March the battalion marched to St Omer train station andtravelled south to Nesle, 18 miles West of Saint Quentin. They arrivedat 7am on the 23rd, had breakfast and marched on to Licourt. Afterlunch they took up their positions in the Front Line on the West bankof the river Somme.

    On the 24th March the 23rd Brigade on the right flank were attackedand forced back giving the Germans part of the west side of the river.The Worcestershire Regiment attacking to the left issued a counterattack enabling the 23rd Brigade to retire in good order. The rightflank, however was still in danger but they managed to hold untilreserves were thrown in. By 5pm infantry action had ceased and therefollowed a quiet night when they were reinforced by the 5th YorkshireRegiment. The 2nd Northamptonshire Regiment suffered 10 fatalitiesthat day..

    The entry in the battalion's war diary for the 25th March explainsthat the battalion was arranged so that 'D' company formed a defensiveflank to the Sherwoods and the line to the north, but it wasunavoidable that a large gap should exist between 'C' and 'D'companies.  The 4th Yorks were put into the gap but it was too late todeter a determined attack by the Germans forcing the battalion towithdraw a considerable distance. 'A' company held their position butbecame surrounded and had to fight their way out. This action enabledthe whole line to withdraw to the railway embankment near Marchelepot.The battalion lost 31 men during this battle.

    On the 26th the order was given to retire to defend Rosieres. Theenemy pursued resulting in the loss of 10 men. The following day theenemy attacked to the right exposing the flank. A small party wasformed and issued a counter attack re-establishing the line anddriving back the enemy beyond their original position. A further 8casualties were reported this day.

    The Germans launched an overwhelming attack on the 28th this time tothe left of the Brigade, causing a complicated withdrawal and changeof direction towards Caix. The enemy advanced very rapidly andpractically surrounded the high ground  that the Brigade now occupied.They found a way out of this tight spot and marched 16 miles to Jumel.7 men lost this day.

    The Battlion remained at Jumel in reserve until 31st March when theymarched to Moreuil and took their position back in the front line.They captured 5 German prisoners and a heavy machine gun that eveningbut lost 3 men in the process.  The next morning there was heavyallied shelling and harassing fire against an amassed German presenceto the North East of Moreuil. The rest of the day passed fairlyquietly but not without incident. It is written in the Battalion WarDiary that a Corporal Scriveur and Private Pepper captured two sorrylooking creatures found wandering nearby.  The prisoners were "milkedand sent back to the transport", a curious way to treat POW's you maythink until it is revealed that the two captured were cows. No doubtthey were sent back to be butchered and processed into burgers for theevening Barbie.

    The Battlion were relieved on the 2nd April by a French regiment andthey marched to Dommartin and eventually taken by lorries to Crouywhere a much welcomed and deserved hot meal was served. It was notedthat since the 23rd March they had 23 men killed; 131 men wounded; 128men missing and 8 wounded men missing.

    During these days of fighting our man Albert Datlen received a bulletwound in his leg, a 'Blighty one' to use a trench phrase meaning thatit was sufficiently bad enough to guarantee a return to England. It isnot clear which leg was targeted as some papers report the left legand others report the right leg. Albert must have been ratherseriously inured as he was taken to Rouen, a major hospital base. Itwould have taken a bit of time to get there via the Regimental AidPost, then a Casualty Clearing Station then the Hospital.

    On the 10th April 1918 A telegraph was received by Robert Elgar Datleninforming of his sons condition.

    "Regret to inform you 49121 Private A.Datlen 2nd NorthamtonshireRegiment is seriously ill at 12 General Hospital, Rouen.  I regretpermission to visit him cannot be granted."

    In fact the wound was so severe that it resulted in amputation.

    Albert was back in England on the 24th April 1918 and over a yearlater he was officially discharged on grounds that he was 50%disabled. He served 1 year and 274 days service for which he receivedan army pension. He was sent the Silver War Badge with the instructionthat he was to wear the badge on his right breast or on the rightlapel of his jacket. This was to show that he had been honourablydischarged i.e. wounded or unfit for service. It was a sort ofprotection from abuse so that others would know that he had done hisbit for his Country.

    Albert received the following medals:-

    British War Medal
    Victory Medal
    Silver War Badge


Page created using GEDmill 1.11.0