Bertram Alfred Pollard
Born circa 1874, in London? Killed in Action 13 October 1915
Buried at Spoilbank Cemetery, Nr Ypres
Company Sergeant Major 3/6084 6th Btn Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry
The earliest census return for Bertie is 1881. Aged 6, he is living in Penzance with 64 year old Elizabeth Wallis, a retired general servant. She is the head of the household, his relationship to her is "boarder. His birthplace is stated as Banbury, Oxfordshire. Ten years later, he is still a boarder with Ms Wallis, though he is now said to have been born in London. On his army records he said he had been born in Penzance and at one time he lists an "E Wallis" in Penzance as his next of kin, stating that she is his aunt. There is a Bertram Alfred Pollard recorded as born in Kensington, London in the last quarter of 1874, so perhaps this is Bertie.
His parents are conspicuous by their absence. On his CWGC records it states that his parents are Mr and Mrs Alfred Pollard of Penzance, though I've not found any other record of them.
Bertie, a harness maker, enlisted with the regular army on 5 June 1893, having already joined the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry militia . On 2 June 1873 he had been examined at Bodmin. He was 5 feet 4 1/2 inches tall, weighed 116 pounds and had a chest measurement of 32 inches - 34 1/2 inches when expanded. His complexion was sallow, his hair dark brown and his eyes blue. The examining doctor was unimpressed and considered him unfit due to his chest measurement. Three days later, a captain declared him fit and Bertie embarked on a long career with the Army with the 2nd Battlion DCLI. His records show his service at home and abroad as follows:
5 June 1893 - 9 Dec 1894 UK
10 Dec 1894 - 20 Feb 1900 India
21 Feb 1900 - 17 Aug 1901 Ceylon
18 Aug 1901 - 7 June 1905 Home
8 June 1905 - 2 Sept 1907 Gibraltar
3 Sept 1907 - 19 Jan 1910 Bermuda
20 Jan 1910 - 10 Mar 1913 South Africa
11 Mar 1913 - 4 June 1914 Home
On 28 April 1905, Bertie married Alice Ann Jones in Penzance.
His discharge came on 4 June 1914, just two months before the outbreak of the Great War. He and Alice must have found a home in Newquay, as the town is given as his place of residence on the casualty records. He re-enlisted at Bodmin and was posted not to his previous Battalion, but to the 6th Battalion.
Bertie's medal card shows that he was in France by 21 May 1915.
The history of the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry gives no details of the incident in which Bertie was killed; in fact, it simply states that for the final three months of 1915 in Ypres, nothing of great note happened to the 6th DCLI.
British wounded being evacuated from Ypres
By Rogers, Gilbert (MBE) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Bertie is buried with three other men of his battalion who fell on 8, 9 and 11 October.
Alice had his gravestone inscribed with the words "In fondest remembrance RIP". She appears to have moved back to her native Wales, dying in Cardiff in 1949. She and Bertie do not appear to have had any children.