Alfred MACE was born in Scotland Cottages, Byfleet on the 13 February 1896 the first child of Alfred, a Bricklayers Labourer from Berkshire, and Elizabeth READ, a Byfleet Girl 7 years younger who had been married in Chertsey Registry Office in 1894. Alfred was baptised at St Mary’s Church on 28 June 1896, and educated at St Mary’s Church of England Primary School.
In the 1911 Census Alfred is living with his parents and 4 younger siblings as a 15 year old Telegraph Boy in Brewery Road Byfleet. In June 1915 Alfred enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps as a Private (cook) and by the end of the war had been promoted to Leading Aircraft man in number 6 Squadron in the Royal Air Force.
On St George’s Day 23 April 1919 Alfred was working in a Hangar at Tourmignies, France when a DH9A bomber of number 99 Squadron piloted by 2nd Lt D C BAIN attempted to land and hit the Hangar. We do not know the circumstances as he had only flown 30 miles from his base, but he had learnt to fly in 1917 so he was not a Novice and was uninjured in the crash which suggests his Aircraft may have hit the side of the Hangar which then collapsed.
Alfred and another Aircraft man ( AC1 Charles Reginald PEPLOE ) were killed in the Hangar and 4 others injured. Alfred and Charles were buried together in the Tourmignies Churchyard under a propeller inscribed with their names, but the IWGC decided to “concentrate” them into a War Cemetery and the men now lie in adjacent graves under standard Headstones in the Cabaret Rouge British Cemetery some 30 miles Southwest of Tourmignies.
Less than two weeks after the Accident, 6 Squadron were deployed to Iraq whilst 99 were on their way to India.