Cleall Alf

by Geoff Pillinger/Mike Curling
Player A E Cleall

Alfred E Cleall

Position: Halfback/threequarter

Born: 27th December 1873 in Leominster




Achievements: A XV Captain, Committee Man, Club Vice Chairman

Honours: Frontier Medal, Queens African Medal

Debut game: 18th March 1911 v Lydney

Final game: 18th January 1913 v Portsmouth

Number of Appearances: 2 1st XV appearances.

Career detail:

Alf enlisted in The Dorsetshire Regiment in1893 and served (until1902) in the UK, India and South Africa.  Leaving the Army Alf became a pub landlord as licensee of the Rising Sun in Grove Street and the Lamb and Lion in Lower Borough Walls.

On 3rd November 1914 Alf joined the North Somerset Yeomanry with his brother Wilf and was shortly mobilised to France where, whilst fighting near Zwarteleen, was killed on 17th November 1914. Alf at that time held the rank of Sergeant and had been mentioned for “Gallant and distinguished service in the field”.Alf was killed while trying to hold off a massive German attack. His group was firing as rapidly as possible, with two comrades handing up ammunition. When Alf took a hit in the throat, Sergeant Gibbs tried to tend to his wounds until, he himself was hit. At first Alf was reported wounded.  It was some months before any definite information was received by his widow. Alf is commemorated along with some 55,000 others on the Menin Gate near Ypres.

‘On the rugby field, Alf was a popular club member, a speedy half-back or three-quarter. He was ‘A’ XV Captain for several seasons. He was instrumental in a memorable Bath 1st XV win over Bridgwater, in the Semi final of the Somerset Cup. Bath were behind, with just a few minutes remaining, when Alf broke away, and passed for his winger to score. The try was converted and Bath won. He later served on the Management Committee and was Club Vice-Chairman at the time of his death. Alf also played football for Bath Thursday AFC and cricket for Bath Second X1.

“Sergt. Cleall was one of the ardent spirits of the regiment. His desire was to ‘get at’ the Germans. The last words he spoke to the writer embodied a hope that he would be soon fighting them. His wish was granted sooner than most expected.”

The deceased possessed the India Frontier Medal and the Queens African Medal and his death is recorded

CHRONICLE 12/2/1916

“Arising out of the death at the front of Sergt. A E Cleall, of the North Somerset Yeomanry Mr. Graham Simmons applied to the magistrates meeting in petty session, for a temporary transfer of the licence of the Full Moon, Upper Borough Walls, to Mr. Wilfred Cleall, the late Sergt. Cleall’s brother.”

Wilfred Cleall was elected to Committee to fill his deceased brother’s seat.

This page was added on 13/10/2014.

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