Soldiers of the War Memorial

18198 Private Albert Lilley
2nd Battalion CheshireRegiment
Died 25 May 1915 Aged 19

Private Albert Lilley

Albert Lilley, the eldest son of Frederick George Lilley and his wife Rachael Jukes, and was born in Bilston, Staffordshire on 31 January 1896. Frederick was a furnace-man in the local ironworks and he and his wife were born in Bilston in 1875. Rachael was soon expecting, and they were married locally on 4 August 1895. By 1901 the family, together with new arrival Rose, were lodging in the home of Mary Hickman, a 79 year old widow of 57 Street, Bilston. Four more children were born, although one died in infancy, meanwhile young Albert was educated at Bilston’s St. Edward’s School.

By 1911 the family had split up. Frederick was still in Bilston, but living with his sister and her husband . He was now a charge-hand in the steel works, and his three younger children, Rose, Ada and William, were still with him.

For reasons that are unclear, his wife Rachael was now near Mansfield working as a live-in cook in Langwith Hospital (Upper Langwith/Shirebrook Parish). She many have gone to be near her eldest son Albert who was working in the Mansfield Mines nearby (or vice-versa of course). There does not seem to be a family connection with Mansfield as previous generations of both sides of the family are rooted in Bilston.

Sometime after that Albert joined his father who had moved to 17 Highfield Road, Ellesmere Port to work as a sheet iron worker in the Wolverhampton Iron Works, joining many other migrants from the Bilston area, who had moved to the Port when the Iron Works had relocated from the midlands.

When war broke out, Albert was an early volunteer, signing on in September 1914 in Ellesmere Port and being posted to the 2nd Battalion Cheshire Regiment. After several months intensive training he was in Flanders with the B.E.F. on 6 April 1915. On 25 May 1915 he was reported missing after action near Ypres, and was presumed killed in action. He was never found. His name is recorded on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing in Ypres.

Albert is another example of a soldier who was not recorded on a memorial due to his itinerant life leading up to the conflict. He wasn’t in Mansfield long enough to make it his permanent home to be remembered there and around two years in Ellesmere Port never made it his real home either. If his family had been together he may have been nominated for the Bilston Memorial where the family had long ancestral roots, but this did not happen either. He was, however, recorded on the Iron Works memorial (see War Memorial page). Only a matter of weeks after Albert had died, his mother Rachael, who had returned to the Wirral also passed away aged forty. Frederick continued to live in the area and died in 1937 aged sixty-two.

In 2014 Albert Lilley's name was finally added to the Ellesmere Port (new) War Memorial

Mike Royden



Census 1901

Census 1911

Census 1911 - Langwith Hospital



Medal Card

Albert Lilley - Commonwealth War Graves Commission Record

Cheshire Regiment Panel on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing

featuring the name of Albert Lilley


Menin Gate

Location Information

Ypres (now Ieper) is a town in the Province of West Flanders. The Memorial is situated at the eastern side of the town on the road to Menin (Menen) and Courtrai (Kortrijk).

Each night at 8 pm the traffic is stopped at the Menin Gate while members of the local Fire Brigade sound the Last Post in the roadway under the Memorial's arches.

Visiting Information

Panel Numbers quoted at the end of each entry relate to the panels dedicated to the Regiment with which the casualty served. In some instances, where a casualty is recorded as attached to another Regiment, his name may appear within their Regimental Panels. Please refer to the on-site Memorial Register Introduction. The Addenda Panel lists those service personnel whose details are awaiting addition to the Regimental Panels. All odd panel numbers are on the North side of the road and even numbers are located on the South side of the road.

Steps on either side of the memorial leading to the rear of the memorial, make wheelchair access to the rear impossible. There is however, a slope at the side of the memorial which gives wheelchair users some access but due to the incline, it may not be possible to ascend/descend unaided.

Please note that every Friday, all wreaths positioned under the Menin Gate will be checked and removed as necessary, with the exception of those placed on the floral tribute the previous evening.

Historical Information

The Menin Gate is one of four memorials to the missing in Belgian Flanders which cover the area known as the Ypres Salient. Broadly speaking, the Salient stretched from Langemarck in the north to the northern edge in Ploegsteert Wood in the south, but it varied in area and shape throughout the war.

The Salient was formed during the First Battle of Ypres in October and November 1914, when a small British Expeditionary Force succeeded in securing the town before the onset of winter, pushing the German forces back to the Passchendaele Ridge. The Second Battle of Ypres began in April 1915 when the Germans released poison gas into the Allied lines north of Ypres. This was the first time gas had been used by either side and the violence of the attack forced an Allied withdrawal and a shortening of the line of defence.

There was little more significant activity on this front until 1917, when in the Third Battle of Ypres an offensive was mounted by Commonwealth forces to divert German attention from a weakened French front further south. The initial attempt in June to dislodge the Germans from the Messines Ridge was a complete success, but the main assault north-eastward, which began at the end of July, quickly became a dogged struggle against determined opposition and the rapidly deteriorating weather. The campaign finally came to a close in November with the capture of Passchendaele.

The German offensive of March 1918 met with some initial success, but was eventually checked and repulsed in a combined effort by the Allies in September.

The battles of the Ypres Salient claimed many lives on both sides and it quickly became clear that the commemoration of members of the Commonwealth forces with no known grave would have to be divided between several different sites.

The site of the Menin Gate was chosen because of the hundreds of thousands of men who passed through it on their way to the battlefields. It commemorates casualties from the forces of Australia, Canada, India, South Africa and United Kingdom who died in the Salient. In the case of United Kingdom casualties, only those prior 16 August 1917 (with some exceptions). United Kingdom and New Zealand servicemen who died after that date are named on the memorial at Tyne Cot, a site which marks the furthest point reached by Commonwealth forces in Belgium until nearly the end of the war. New Zealand casualties that died prior to 16 August 1917 are commemorated on memorials at Buttes New British Cemetery and Messines Ridge British Cemetery.

now bears the names of more than 54,000 officers and men whose graves are not known. The memorial, designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield with sculpture by Sir William Reid-Dick, was unveiled by Lord Plumer on 24 July 1927.


Missing name to be added to Ellesmere Port’s War Memorial

Ellesmere Port Pioneer, 11 February 2014

Derek Warden with the Council’s Town Centre Improvement Manager Jochem Hollestelle

Exactly one hundred years after World War One began and 99 years since Albert Lilley died in the battlefields of Flanders, his name is to be added to Ellesmere Port’s war memorial.

Formerly an Ellesmere Port resident, the name A. Lilley can be found on the war memorial from the Merseyside Iron & Steel Works, given a loving place by the British Legion after closure of the iron works, but removed before demolition of the Stanney Lane site last year. But Albert’s name is not on the town’s Civic Square war memorial and at the request of local resident Derek Warden, on behalf of his family-in-law, the name is to be added to the many hundreds from the area who gave their lives.

Following advice from the War Memorial Trust, the name will be added by a specialist Master Letter Carver to make sure the monument is being preserved in accordance with its historic value. Derek Warden, a member of Albert Lilley’s family, said: “What a great outcome it will be when Albert’s name can finally be added to the main memorial in the civic centre, I will be so pleased when it finally comes about.”

Councillor Stuart Parker, Executive Member for Culture and Economy, said: “I am delighted that we can add Albert’s name to the war memorial and his sacrifice can be seen by all who visit. “The Royal British Legion has been supportive with providing the information, and the historic facts have been confirmed by the Cheshire Military Museum.

In this centenary year of the Great War it is so important to commemorate lives lost and add missing names wherever possible.” The project will be funded through the town centre improvements scheme and Civic Square is a key priority highlighted in the Ellesmere Port Development Board’s Vision and Strategic Regeneration Framework. Local Councillor, Lynn Clare, said: “Albert Lilley gave his life for his country nearly a hundred years ago and I am pleased that Ellesmere Port residents and visitors will now recognise the sacrifice he made as his name is added to the memorial for all to see for many years to come.”

Return to Soldier's Records page


Visit the Royden History Index Page listing web sites designed and maintained by Mike Royden
No pages may be reproduced without permission
copyright Mike Royden
All rights reserved