A patrol of the 1/18th Londons (London Irish Rifles), entering the ruins of Albert on 6 August 1918. Photograph taken by Lieutenant John Warwick Brooke © IWM (Q 7946)
On 6 August 1918, Lieutenant John Warwick Brooke, one of the official photographers attached to the British Expeditionary Force, accompanied a patrol of the 1/18th Battalion, The London Regiment (London Irish Rifles) (Territorial Force), as they made a daylight reconnaissance in the ruins of Albert. The Battalion War Diary records:
Lieutenant-Colonel George Henry John Neely, photographed in Albert by John Warwick Brooke on 6 August 1918 © IWM (Q 6905)
“Lt.Col. NEELY, M.C., 2/Lt. Mackenzie, + a Patrol of 12 O.Rs with the G.H.Q. Photographer proceeded to patrol ALBERT + were photographed in front of the Cathedral. The enemy were encountered in a fortified house at W.28.c.7.3., a fight ensuing in the course of which we had one man killed + two wounded.”
Brooke took several photographs of the body of the dead soldier being recovered by his comrades, and the images are preserved in the Photographic Archive of the Imperial War Museum. The soldier who was killed on the patrol was 50024 Rifleman Albert Edward Case, who came from Whatley in Somerset.
The body of Rifleman Case in the doorway of a house in Albert © IWM (Q 6903)
Comrades bringing Rifleman Case out of the ruined building © IWM (Q 7945)
His death was reported in The Taunton Courier and Western Advertiser on 21 August:
“KILLED IN ACTION – Deep sympathy is expressed with Mr and Mrs Case, of Whatley, in the loss they have sustained by the death of their only child, Private (sic) A. Case, of the London Irish Rifles, who was killed in France on August 6th. Private Case joined up in September last, when eighteen years of age, and proceeded to France at the end of March. He was a bell-ringer of All Saints’ Church. As a boy he was a member of the choir and latterly had been the organ blower. Since leaving school he had been employed by Messrs. Kelway & Son. His chaplain wrote:
“I regret very much having to be the writer of bad news. Your son, Rifleman A. Case, was killed August 6th while on duty. I buried him to-day in one of our cemeteries close by. His grave has been carefully marked and a cross will be erected as soon as possible… I pray that God may give you the comfort which He alone can in your trouble.”
The body of Rifleman Case being brought into cover © IWM (Q 7947)
Albert had been transferred to the London Irish from the Prince Albert’s (Somerset Light Infantry), his former regimental number being 40433, and had attested at Taunton. He was the son of Edward and Emily Case.
The body of Rifleman Case was taken back to Warloy-Baillon and he is buried in the Communal Cemetery Extension: Plot VI, Row H, Grave 6.