Alfred William Stevens
Suzanne Fleming’s Grandfather
My paternal Grandfather, I remember him well. He was gentle and quietly spoken, uncomplaining and happy. He was born in 1875, in Buckinghamshire and spent his youth in Little Horwood. He married in 1905, moving in with his in-laws to the burgeoning town of Northampton. His father-in-law was already a loco driver and persuaded Alfred to work on the railways.
He started as a railway fireman, and eventually became a steam-locomotive driver until retirement. At the onset of W.W.I he would have been around 39yrs, too old to volunteer and in a Reserved Occupation. The railways were considered to be too important to lose trained personnel who helped maintain the continuity of transport of soldiers, freight, and national communications. Consequently, he did not go to the front and fight alongside his local friends.
As a child in the 1940’s I recall being offered a ride ‘on the footplate’ with Grandpa (the driver). I was duly passed up by my mother to the waiting arms of Grandpa, at which moment I screamed blue murder at the sight of the massive roaring fire in front of me. I then spent the journey with my Mother in the carriage, and have regretted refusing that ride ever since.
|The original exhibition display: Alfred William Stevens|
See also U.K. Military Service Act