Alfred Dowse was born at Abbots Langley in the spring of 1896, one of two boys and three daughters born to Alfred and Susan Dowse. In the 1901 Census the family are noted living at Bedmond where Alfred (senior) worked as a House Painter.
On 22nd November 1915 Alfred (junior) attested at Hertford into the Hertfordshire Regiment, and had his medical on the same day. He was sent home to await mobilisation, and the Abbots Langley Parish Magazine Roll of Honour first recorded him, serving with the Hertfordshire Territorials, in January 1916.
Alfred was mobilised a few weeks later and on 5th July 1916 was sent to France and posted to the 1st Hertfordshire’s. Later in 1916, on 5th September, he was posted to the 6th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment.
On 30th September 1916 he was in action and received a gun-shot wound in his right leg, which resulted in the loss of his leg below the knee as well as the big toe from his left foot. He was returned to England on 25th October 1916 and was eventually discharged “No longer physically fit for War Service” on 6th February 1918.
The Abbots Langley Parish Magazine reported that Alfred had been badly wounded in December 1916 at the same time as recording that his son had been born at Abbots Langley on 3rd December. In September 1917 the Parish Magazine confirmed that he had lost one leg and half of the other foot.
Alfred’s brother Owen served from 1918 and survived the War, as did his other brother Frederick. He also had several cousins from the local area serving, and all survived.