b. 03/08/1830 Weybread, Suffolk. d. 12/03/1897 Poplar, London.
Alfred Ablett (1830-1897) was born in Weybread, Suffolk on 3rd August 1830. Little is known of his life in Suffolk before he chose to enlist with the Grenadier Guards just prior to the outbreak of hostilities in the Crimea. He was part of the 3rd Battalion which was stationed at the Siege and Capture of Sebastopol during the majority of 1855.
On 2nd September 1855, in the trenches at Sebastopol, a burning shell fell into the trench knocking Ablett off his feet. He was covered in stones and gravel, but with quick thinking, seized the shell in both hands with the burning fuse, and threw it over the parapet. It immediately exploded as it touched the ground, but none of the men were wounded. Ablett was promoted to Corporal and then Sergeant after the events of that day.
He was awarded the Victoria Cross on 24th February 1857, one of the first recipients of the award. He was personally presented with the medal at Hyde Park on 26th June 1857 by Queen Victoria. He was also awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal and a gratuity of £5.
In later life, Sergeant Ablett became an Inspector of Police, at Millwall Docks, London. He died on 12th March 1897 in Poplar, London, aged 66. He was buried in an unmarked grave in St Andrew’s Churchyard, Weybread, Suffolk. His Victoria Cross was sold at auction in London on 20th March 1903 for £62. The medal is now held by the Grenadier Guards RHQ, Wellington Barracks, London.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: GRENADIER GUARDS RHQ, WELLINGTON BARRACKS, LONDON.
BURIAL PLACE: ST ANDREW'S CHURCHYARD, WEYBREAD, SUFFOLK (NOT MARKED)
Memorial to Ablett inside St Andrew's Church, Weybread, Suffolk.