William James REEVES
Mother: Mary Jane ASHDOWN
Birth Source: FreeBMD & Census
Death: 1917, France
Death Source: CWGC
William James REEVES and his wife Mary Jane (nee ASHDOWN). His place of birth is consistently noted as Meopham, Kent and FreeBMD has a matching birth registration during the first quarter of 1895 in the Strood Registration District.
By the time of the 1901 census Alfred is six years old and living in his parents home at West Down on the Shipley Hills Road, Meopham, Kent. In addition to his parents and seven siblings, his uncle Stephen Reeves completes the household.
On the 1911 census Alfred is again to be found with his parents, now living at Chimhams Cottages, Farningham, Kent. He is now 17 years of age and working as a Carter on (the) Farm. The household comprises his parents, nine siblings and his uncle Stephen Reeves.
Whilst serving as Private 24518 in the 8th Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment, Alfred died of his wounds in northern France, very close to the border with Belgium, in June 1917. He is buried in the Godewaersvelde British Cemetery, in the Nord département of France (FR-59). The CWGC additionally notes "Brother of Mr. S. Reeves, of 2, Lincolnshire Terrace, Lanes End, Dartford."
The death of Private 24518 of the Devon Regiment in 1917 is included in the GRO Index to War Deaths 1914-1921. Army (other Ranks) page 3012 as Alfred Reeves, year 1917, vol I.59, page 112
The "UK, Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929" entry for Private 24518 Alfred Reeves shows him serving with the 8th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. It comprises three distribution entries. The first two are in the same hand and black ink and are dated March 1918 to an Undertaker C Mackney & Sons and to his sister Mrs Hepzibah M BROWN. See Research Note 1 below. The third entry, to his sister Elizabeth A BIRCH, was made in March 1920.
There is also a record for Private 24518 Alfred Reeves of the 8th Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment in "Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1918". That gives his place of birth as Mopham (sic), Kent.
(1) The reference to an Undertaker as a Soldier's beneficiary is unusual. The CWGC notes Alfred is buried in France and both "Soldier's Effects" and Soldier's Died" note that he died of wounds. So these undertaker's expenses are extremely unlikely to relate to Alfred himself.
The firm of undertakers C Mackney & Sons (according to the 1913 Kelly's Directory for Kent) had premises at both 56 St Albans Road and 46 East Hill in Dartford. It was very common for an unmarried soldier to name his mother as his legatee. FreeBMD notes the death of a Mary J Reeves (age 51) in the Dartford Registration during the fourth quarter of 1917, shortly after Alfred's death. Whilst the connection has not been proven, it seems likely this is Alfred's mother and the funeral expenses were her's.
Death: GRO Index to War Deaths 1914-1921. Army (Other Ranks) page 3012 as Alfred Reeves
CWGC http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/24114/REEVES, A
1901 Census: RG13, Piece 0717, Folio 19f, Page 19
1911 Census: RG14, Piece 03801, Reg.Dist. 43 (Dartford), Sub Dist. 4 (Farningham), Enum.Dist. 8, Schedule 105
From Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1918 at FindMyPast
First name(s) ALFRED Last name REEVES Service number 24518 Rank PRIVATE Regiment Devonshire Regiment Battalion 8th (Service) Battalion. Birth place MOPHAM, KENT Residence - Enlistment place WINDSOR Death year 1917 Death day 6 Death month 10 Cause of death Died of wounds Death place France & Flanders Theatre of war Western European Theatre