Parish Records show that the wedding of Alexander‘s parents Samuel Say aged 37 a groom, and Florence Bull aged 25 took place on 25th January 1894. The Groom’s father was the late Samuel Say a policeman in Suffolk. The Bride’s father was Thomas Bull. Research revealed that Samuel, Alexander’s father, was buried on 7th December, 1899. He was aged 42.
Alexander‘s widowed mother married Albert Williams in 1901.
The 1901 Census shows Alexander Say living at 30 South End, West Haddon with his grandfather Thomas Bull aged 72, an agricultural labourer, born West Haddon, Florence Williams, his mother aged 32 and her husband Albert, aged 22, a journeyman wheelwright. Alexander was aged six at the time of the census having been born in West Haddon on 3/4/1894.
The 1911 Census shows his mother Florence and her new husband living in West Haddon with their four children aged 9, 7, 7 and 2. Alexander is not named in the census.
I was unable to trace Alexander’s whereabouts after 1901. The Northampton Mercury dated Friday 25th August, 1916 however carried the following item “Say, Pte. Alec Oxon and Bucks L I was badly wounded in the knee on July 31 and is now in hospital in Stourbridge. He is the son of Mrs Albert Williams of West Haddon who visited him in hospital. This is the second time he has been wounded”.
Earlier this month my attention was drawn to an entry by Barbara and Peter Tomkins in the Parish Church Visitors’ Register. I contacted Mr and Mrs Tomkins, provided them with a copy of my research up to that time and asked if they were able to provide me with any further information on the life of Alexander. Their response was immediate and added significantly to what I had been able to discover.
It is believed Alec, as he preferred to be called, entered military service in 1912 until 1918. Barbara and Peter provided a photograph showing him in the uniform of the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, with the rank of private, regimental number 11235, displaying his three medals all inscribed “A SAY WW1”
He was invalided out of military service after being shot in the leg. It was reported he was “dragged off the war field” and sent home in a flimsy boat, almost losing his leg as a result. He wore irons on his leg for the remainder of his life.
Alec married Edith May Hutt, a nurse who nursed him through his injuries, on 6th April, 1918 in St Andrew’s Parish Church, Willesden, Middlesex. At the time of the marriage he was living at Stanhope Lines A.T.C., Chaffing Depot, Aldershot. Soon after his marriage he moved to Burton Latimer in Northamptonshire where he worked as a gardener for Mr & Mrs Harpur of Burton Latimer Grange and lived in a tied cottage across the road. He subsequently had various types of employment, e.g. as a French Polisher for Mulliner’s of Northampton, possibly Bridge Street, (Rolls Royce Coachworks). It is thought his trade as French Polisher may have been achieved through a government course provided due to his disability.
About 1933 he moved to 121 Priory Road, Wellingborough to take up work at the billiard hall at the Angel Hotel, in Silver Street, Wellingborough later becoming the manager of a billiard hall in Cambridge Street. About 1950 he moved to 43 Dalkeith Road, Wellingborough. For many years he was a delegate at the Royal Liver Insurance Company conferences.
Alec Say died on 4th December 1976 and was cremated at Kettering about 14th December, 1976.
Alec and Edith had one child, a daughter, Beatrice Rosemary who was born on 28th September, 1919 and who died on 4th February, 2013. She had one son, Peter who in turn had two children.
I am enormously grateful to Barbara and Peter Tomkins who provided a significant amount of previously undiscovered information. By doing so I have probably been able to produce as complete a story as possible on one of our 100 Heroes.
17th June, 2016
(above) Alec Say; Alec in uniform with his medals; Alec Say’s wife in nurses’s uniform