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
Died 12 March 1897(1897-03-12) (aged 66)
Poplar, London
Buried at St Andrew's Churchyard, Weybread
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Rank Sergeant
Service number 5,872
Unit 3rd Battalion, Grenadier Guards

Crimean War

Awards Victoria 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.

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. (subscription required (help)). 
  2. ^ "1841 England, Wales & Scotland Census Transcription". Findmypast. Retrieved 28 September 2014. (subscription required (help)). 
  3. ^ "British Army Service Records 1760–1915 Transcription". Findmypast. Retrieved 28 September 2014. (subscription required (help)). 
  4. ^ a b "Death of a Victoria Cross Hero". Falkirk Herald (4840). British Newspaper Archive. 17 March 1897. p. 6. Retrieved 28 September 2014. (subscription required (help)). 
  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. (subscription required (help)). 
  9. ^ "Naval and Military Intelligence". Colburn's United Service Magazine. 2: 447. 1857. Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  10. ^ "The Victoria Cross". Reading Mercury. 125. British Newspaper Archive. 28 February 1857. p. 4. Retrieved 28 September 2014. (subscription required (help)). 
  11. ^ "The Victoria Cross". Yorkshire Gazette. XXXIX (1973). British Newspaper Archive. 28 February 1857. p. 8. Retrieved 28 September 2014. (subscription required (help)). 
  12. ^ "Home Office: Calendar of prisons Image". Findmypast. Retrieved 28 September 2014. (subscription required (help)). 
  13. ^ "V.C. Hero". Hull Daily Mail (3569). British Newspaper Archive. 16 March 1897. p. 2. Retrieved 28 September 2014. (subscription required (help)). 
  14. ^ "Alfred Ablett". Retrieved 17 December 2015. 
  15. ^ "The Guards Regimental Headquarters". Retrieved 29 September 2014. 

External links[edit]