Research and text by Cathy Sedgwick
Albert Henry Sepple was born between 1881 & 1886 (age varies so difficult to know exact year) to parents Charles John & Mary Sepple (Szeple).
The 1891 England Census recorded Albert Sepel as a 10 year old (Census lists he was born in Germany) living with his family at 5 Circus, St. Botolph, London, England. His parents were listed as Charles Sepel (Tailor, aged 35, born Germany) & Mary Sepel (aged 33, born Germany). Albert was the eldest of five children listed on this Census – Albert, Arthur (aged 9, born Germany), Charles (aged 6, born London), Mary (aged 4, born London) & Ada (aged 1, born London). Also listed was Joanna Sepel – Mother of Charles (widow, aged 60, born Germany) & a Boarder – Charles Wolf (Tailor, aged 32, born Germany).
The 1901 England Census recorded Albert Seppel as a 21 year old Servant working for Charles Schafer, Publican, of 103 Hanbury Street, Mile End New Town, Whitechapel, London, England.
Charles John Szepel, father of Albert Henry Seppel, died in 1903 – registered as Carl Szepel in March quarter, 1903.
Albert Henry Sepple enlisted in the Leicestershire Regiment. He was given a Regimental number of 8574.
The 1911 England Census recorded Albert Henry Sepple (stated born at Whitechapel, London, England) as a 24 year old Private in the 2nd Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment stationed in India.
[The 1911 England Census recorded Albert’s widowed mother – Marie (Mary Elizabeth) Szepel, living at 124 Addison Road, Guildford, Surrey, England in a 5 roomed house. Marie Szepel stated she had been married for 31 years & had 9 children, 2 having since died. Also listed on this Census – Edith Flohren – Marie’s daughter, aged 21, married for 2 years with 1 child – Charles Flohren (aged 1), also Mary Szepel – Marie’s daughter (aged 23), Hermann Szepel – Marie’s son (Baker’s Lad (errand), aged 15), Lily Szepel – Marie’s daughter (aged 12) & Carl Wally/Waley – Boarder (Tailor, Coat Maker, aged 50, born Germany).]
Albert Henry Seppel, aged 34, married Hannah Louisa Roden, aged 36, on 23rd January, 1915 in Holy Trinity Church, Guildford, Surrey, England. Albert was recorded as a Private in 2nd Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment, residing at Cosham & his father was listed as Charles John Seppel, Tailor. Hannah was listed as living at Holy Trinity, Guildford & her father was listed as Robert Roden, Coachman.
[Hannah Roden had a son – Frank Percival Roden – born 16th November, 1908 in Waterloo, London, Lambeth, England.]
(Note – It appears that the Service Record file for Private Albert Henry Sepple has not survived, so very little details are known except from the newspaper items that were published regarding his death & funeral).
Private Albert Henry Sepple was wounded on 16th November, 1914 in the arm (according to newspaper article) then returned to France in April, 1916 where he was wounded again on 9th June with shrapnel in the left side of the head, the injuries causing paralysis of the right side, the left shoulder, and left knee (according to newspaper article).
Private Albert Henry Sepple died on 21st October, 1915 at Norfolk War Hospital, Norwich, Norfolk, England from wounds received in action.
A death for Albert Sepple, aged 29, was registered in the December quarter, 1915 in the district of Blofield, Norfolk, England.
Private Albert Henry Sepple was buried on 28th October, 1915 in Guildford Old Cemetery, Guildford, Surrey, England – Plot number 4897 and has a Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone.
Newspaper item – Surrey Advertiser, Guildford, Surrey, England – 1 November, 1915:
THE LATE PTE SEPPLE
The funeral took place on Thursday, deceased being accorded military honours. The first portion of the service was held in Holy Trinity Church, and the procession from Addison-road to the church was headed by a firing party of The Queen’s from the Depot, followed the band of The Queen’s (under Bandmaster Adams), which played Beethoven’s Funeral March and the Dead March in Saul. The coffin was covered with the Union Jack, on which rested the deceased’s cap and belt. The bearers were men of The Queen’s, and following the mourning coaches was a contingent from Stoughton Barracks, under the command of Major Pain. The service at the church was conducted by the Rector (the Rev. E. C. Kirwan).
The sad procession was watched by a large number of sympathisers, and the committal sentences at the cemetery were said by the Rev. E. C. Douglas.
On the conclusion of the service at the graveside three volleys were fired, and the “Last Post” was sounded on the bugles by Bandmaster Adams, C.Q.M.S. Waring, [Sergeant]. Sullivan, and Drummer Hobbs.
The family mourners were: Mrs Sepple (widow), Mrs Sepple (mother), Mrs Hollingshead, Mrs Flohren, and Miss Sepple (sisters), Mr and Mrs Barnes (brother-in-law and sister), Mr Woolf, Mr and Mrs Lewis, and Mr and Mrs Jones. There were numerous floral tributes.
The funeral arrangements were carried out by Mr E. Broughton.
[Private] Sepple was 29 years of age, and before he joined the Army seven years ago was employed the Chilworth Powder Mills. About five years ago he was drafted with the 2nd [Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment] to India. At the outbreak of the war he proceeded to France, where he was wounded in the arm on the 16th Nov. He was brought to England, and taken to the Sussex County Hospital, Brighton. From there he came to Guildford on sick furlough, and he married Miss Louisa Roden. On Easter Monday he left for France, where he was wounded on the 9th June by shrapnel in the left side of the head, the injuries causing paralysis of the right side, the left shoulder, and left knee. Six pieces of shrapnel were extracted from his skull. He was taken to Norwich War Hospital, Thorpe, and passed away as stated. He bore his sufferings very patiently, and, asked if he was in much pain, said it was a soldier’s honour. The relatives are grateful to the doctors and nurses at the Norwich Hospital, Thorpe, for their skill and kindness.
On 1st March, 1916, Hannah Louisa Szepel, widow of the late Private Albert Henry Sepple, of 124 Addison Road, Guildford, Surrey, England, took the Oath of Allegiance & received her Certificate of Naturalization. Hannah had been born on 5th August, 1878 at Mold, in the county of Flint, Wales & her nationality was German – by marriage.
Private Albert Henry Sepple was entitled to 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & the Victory Medal
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists Private A. H. Sepple – service number 8574, aged 29, of 1st Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment. He was the son of Mrs Mary Sepple; husband of Hannah Louisa Windreas (formerly Sepple), of 72 Denham St., Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia.
Private Albert Henry Sepple is remembered on the Commemorative Roll Book, located in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra. The Commemorative Roll records the names of those Australians who died during or as a result of wars in which Australians served, but who were not serving in the Australian Armed Forces and therefore not eligible for inclusion on the Roll of Honour. (Note: It appears that Private Albert Henry Sepple’s name on the Commemorative Roll was based on the information that his next-of-kin’s address was listed as Australia & therefore the soldier concerned, it was assumed, would be Australian.)
[Hannah Louisa Sepple, widow of the late Private Albert Henry Sepple, remarried on 28th May, 1917 at Holy Trinity Church, Guildford, Surrey, England to William Windress, Australian A.M.C. A son was born on 28th August, 1918 – Daniel William Windress. at Dartford, Kent, England. Private William Windress had been admitted to Guildford War Hospital in December, 1916 suffering from Trench Fever.
Hannah Windress was listed as a passenger on Indarra which departed from the port of London, England on 8th September, 1919 bound for Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Hannah & William Windress were listed on the 1930, 1934, 1936, 1937 & 1943 Australian Electoral Rolls as living at 160 Kent Street, Rockhampton, Queensland.
Hannah Windress, widow of the late Private Albert Henry Sepple, died on 12th November, 1946 at Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia.]
A. H. Sepple is remembered on the Charlotteville War Memorial, located in front of Addison Court flats, Addison Road, Guildford, Surrey, England. The War Memorial was originally situated in the garden of St Luke’s Church. The church was demolished in the late 1960’s and replaced by Addison Court.
Private A. Sepple is remembered on the Guildford War Memorial, Surrey, England located in the grounds of Guildford Castle.
A. H. Seppel is remembered on the Roll of Glory in Holy Trinity Church, High Street, Guildford, Surrey, England
Sepple, 8574, A. H.,, Leics. R.
(The Scotsman, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland – 18 January, 1915)
SURREY MAN’S REMARKABLE STRENGTH
Private Albert Sepple, of Guildford, who enlisted in the 2nd [Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment] and was a member of the Indian Expeditionary Force, was wounded at Ypres on June 6th, and has just died in a Norwich hospital. He had 12 fragments of shrapnel embedded in his brain, and lived for nearly 20 weeks, never losing consciousness except when under anaesthetics. The surgeons removed the 12 pieces of shrapnel, varying in size from a pin’s head to a large pea, from the brain. Besides the injuries to his head, his right side was paralysed, there was a large wound in the left shoulder and his left knee was shattered. Yet his courage never wavered. Eight surgeons were round his bed, and could hardly believe in his consciousness. As a special test they asked Sepple if he could whistle. He could, and did whistle several times. Gradually, however, his strength left him, but he remained conscious to the end.
(Surrey Mirror , Reigate, Surrey, England – 2 November, 1915) & (Western Times, Exeter, Devon, England – 2 November, 1915)
& (Surrey Mirror , Reigate, Surrey, England – 5 November, 1915) & (Warwick and Warwickshire Advertiser, Warwickshire, England – 6 November, 1915)
Guildford Cemetery, Guildford, Surrey, England
Guildford Cemetery is on the old Farnham Road. The Guildford War Hospital with 445 beds was established in the Infirmary. There are 33 Commonwealth War Graves in this Cemetery – 13 from World War 1 & 20 from World War 2. There is only 1 Australian War Grave.
Photo of Private A. H. Sepple’s Commonwealth War Graves Commission Headstone in Guildford Cemetery, Guildford, Surrey, England.