Alfred Ablett

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Alfred Ablett
The Battle of Sebastopol.png
Depiction of the Siege of Sebastopol
Born(1830-08-03)3 August 1830
Weybread, Suffolk
Died12 March 1897(1897-03-12) (aged 66)
Poplar, London
St Andrew's Churchyard, Weybread
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchBritish Army
Service number5,872
Unit3rd Battalion, Grenadier Guards
Battles/warsCrimean War
AwardsVictoria Cross
Distinguished Conduct Medal

Alfred Ablett VC, DCM (3 August 1830 – 12 March 1897) was a British Army soldier and a Crimean War recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. A soldier with the Grenadier Guards during the Crimean War, he was awarded the VC for his actions on 2 September 1855, during the siege of Sebastopol.

Early life[edit]

Alfred Ablett was born on 3 August 1830, at Weybread, Suffolk, to Samuel and Elizabeth Ablett. He was baptised just over a month later on 3 September.[1] According to the 1841 England, Wales and Scotland census, he had four older brothers, one younger brother and two younger sisters.[2]

Military service[edit]

Ablett joined the army on 20 February 1850 at the age of 19 years and five months,[3] being assigned to the 3rd Battalion, Grenadier Guards. He would go on to serve in the Crimean War, seeing action at the Battle of Alma, Battle of Inkerman and the Battle of Balaclava, earning service bars for each. But it was at the rank of private in early September 1855 when he performed the deed which would earn him a Victoria Cross for bravery while in the trenches at the siege of Sebastopol.[4][5]

His VC citation in the London Gazette reads:

On 2 September, 1855, seeing a shell fall in the centre of a number of ammunition cases and powder, he instantly seized and threw it outside the trench; it burst as it touched the ground.[6][7]

He was nominated for the award by his company captain who witnessed the event,[8] and was among 29 men to be presented with the medal on 26 June 1857 by Queen Victoria.[9] Ablett later achieved the rank of sergeant.[10] He was one of two members of the 3rd Battalion, Grenadier Guards who earned the Victoria Cross during the Crimean War, the other being Private Anthony Palmer.[11]

Later life and legacy[edit]

In 1868, he was accused of attempting to kill himself with a rifle, but was found not guilty by a jury at a court in Norwich.[12] He had served for 26 years in the London Dock Police following his departure from military service, reaching the rank of sergeant.[13] He died at his home on East India Road, Poplar, London on 12 March 1897[4] and was buried in St Andrew's churchyard, Weybread.[14]

His Victoria Cross is held by the Grenadier Guards Regimental Headquarters, Wellington Barracks, London, England.[15]


  1. ^ "Suffolk Baptism Index (part 3) Transcription". Findmypast. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  2. ^ "1841 England, Wales & Scotland Census Transcription". Findmypast. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  3. ^ "British Army Service Records 1760–1915 Transcription". Findmypast. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Death of a Victoria Cross Hero". Falkirk Herald (4840). British Newspaper Archive. 17 March 1897. p. 6. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  5. ^ Parry, D.H. (1898). Britain's Roll of Honour. London, New York and Melbourne: Cassell and Company. p. 41. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  6. ^ "No. 21971". The London Gazette. 24 February 1857. p. 657.
  7. ^ O'Byrne, Robert W., ed. (1880). The Victoria Cross. London: W.H. Allen and Co. p. 79.
  8. ^ "Military & Volunteer Items". Leamington Spa Courier. LXX (12). British Newspaper Archive. 20 March 1897. p. 4. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  9. ^ Pollock, Arthur William Alsager (1857). "Naval and Military Intelligence". Colburn's United Service Magazine. 2: 447. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  10. ^ "The Victoria Cross". Reading Mercury. 125. British Newspaper Archive. 28 February 1857. p. 4. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  11. ^ "The Victoria Cross". Yorkshire Gazette. XXXIX (1973). British Newspaper Archive. 28 February 1857. p. 8. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  12. ^ "Home Office: Calendar of prisons Image". Findmypast. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  13. ^ "V.C. Hero". Hull Daily Mail (3569). British Newspaper Archive. 16 March 1897. p. 2. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  14. ^ "Alfred Ablett". Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  15. ^ "The Guards Regimental Headquarters". Retrieved 29 September 2014.

External links[edit]