Alfred Hinton 1st World War Soldier 1914 – 1918
Albert Hinton, Grandfather of parishioner Rose Cooper, was born on 6th June 1890 and fought as a soldier in the First World War. He lived in the small market town of Wem in Shropshire and worked as a postman when he left school. He and Rose’s Grandmother moved to Altrincham in the 1930s. As children living in Sale we would often visit them and Granddad would tell us stories about when he was young. He was a born story teller and we never tired of listening to his tales of growing up in Wem and about his time serving as a soldier.
Rose and her siblings loved to listen to all his stories but if he asked them what stories theye’d like him to tell they always said: “Tell us about the war Granddad”. Rose writes:
He‘d then tell us about how proud he was to march off to war even though he had to leave his wife and baby son behind.
He’d tell us about the long marches; about the trenches with water up to their knees; about how little food they had to eat.
He’s tell us about sleeping in big bell tents, in a circle, with feet to the middle and about how cold it was in the winter.
He had lots of stories but he never talked about the guns and the killing or of the friends he’d lost. We’d listen with great interest about a time that seemed so very far away and seemed to be so exciting and different from our cosy world.
My favourite story was the one where he got shot in the shoulder and leg and was taken prisoner. He was taken to a German field hospital where they removed the bullets from his shoulder and ankle, without anaesthetic, “it bloody hurt!” he’d say.
Meanwhile back in England he’d been posted as ‘missing presumed dead’ and my Grandmother received a telegram informing her of this.
After a few weeks the army discovered that he was alive and in the German military hospital. A second telegram was sent to my Grandmother and because Granddad had been a postman, when the telegram arrived, the postman who delivered it, being a friend, ran down the street waving the telegram shouting;
“Alf’s alive, he’s alive, they’ve found him”.
My Grandmother was so happy and relieved she ran out to hug the postman. We loved the happy ending.
My Grandad was one of the lucky ones, he came home but every year on Remembrance Day he’d remember his fallen comrades as he attended the service at the Cenotaph proudly wearing his poppy and his medals.
Granddad died in 1975 but I still remember the tales he used to tell when we said: “Tell us about the war Grandad”.