WHITE, Albert  [1892-1917]

Albert White was born on 1 December 1892 the son of Scottish-born railway porter Thomas White and his wife Eliza Ann (née Falls) of 64 Teulon Street L4 (now demolished it ran between Walton Road and Walton Lane). They later moved to Kirkdale at 124 Arlington Street L5 (now demolished). Albert had four brothers and two sisters
After leaving school Albert followed the path of many Liverpudlians of his day and joined the merchant navy, sailing on the White Star Line ship SS Laurentic as a trimmer in the boiler room. Home on leave shortly after the outbreak of the First World War he enlisted at Liverpool on 23rd October 1914 in the Royal Amry Medical Corps (RAMC). He spent his army induction under canvas at Calderstones Park, moving on to Kent to undergo training in first aid and bandaging.
Before long Albert White decided that the RAM did not suit him and he transferred to the 2nd Battalion South Wales Borderers. In August 1915 he saw his first action, taking part in the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign. His battalion suffered terrible losses, 300 men, a third of their strength, killed in an action to take Scimitar Hill, but White was unharmed.  Moved to the Western Front, and promoted to corporal, he was soon in the thick of the Somme offensive. Again the 2nd Battalion suffered utter carnage with 246 killed and 153 wounded from a strength of 599. Again White came through the action unharmed and was soon promoted to sergeant.
In 1917 he had a week's leave back in Liverpool at the family home, 58 Lamb Street L5 (now demolished)
Back in France for a while he underwent training for a commission, but realising the expense involved in being an officer he returned to the battalion as a sergeant. On 19th May 1917, in action near the town of Arras, he saw that a German machine gun was holding back the advance of his platoon. Darting into the open he single-handedly charged the gun. Shooting three defenders and bayonetting a fourth he was within feet of the machine-gun when a burst of fire brought him down, mortally wounded in the battlefield mud. His body was never recovered,

For his bravery Albert White was awarded the Victoria Cross on 27th June 1917., the citation reading
"For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty. Realising during an attack that one of the enemy’s machine guns, which had previously been located, would hold up the whole advance of his Company, Sjt. White, without the slightest hesitation and regardless of all personal danger, dashed ahead of his Company to capture the gun. When within a few yards of the gun he fell riddled with bullets, having thus willingly sacrificed his life in order that he might secure the success of the operations and the welfare of his comrades"

There is a memorial to Albert White in the garden of the Church of Our Lady and St Nicholas, Liverpool. It was unveiled on 19 May 2017, 100 years to the day from his death, 

The memorial to Albert White at St Nicholas' church.


By far the best source on Albert White is James Murphy's excellent book Liverpool VCs [Pen & Sword 2008]. The Wikipedia entry gives a very brief account.