We Have Our Lives

Albert Packer
  • Born Bristol, 28th June 1884
  • Died Bristol, 27th December 1917
  • Age33
  • RankBombardier
  • RegimentRoyal Garrison Artillery
  • Unit173rd Siege Battery

Albert Packer

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Albert Edward Farvis Packer was the youngest son of Frank and Eliza Packer. He lived with his brother Francis, who was six years his elder, at 2 Stackpool Road in Southville. He went to Victoria Park Primary School in Bedminster, while his brother went to the now-defunct Castle Green Council School. Albert worked for a provision merchant in the city, selling food and other supplies to ships leaving the port.

He was called up in June 1916 as part of the first batch of conscripts. He enlisted with the Royal Garrison Artillery, who were responsible for the heaviest armaments of the British armed forces. He arrived in France on the 3rd of October that year, after training in Britain.

The Royal Garrison Artillery suffered relatively light casualties, as the sheer size of the guns they manned was such that they had to be kept some way behind the front line. Nonetheless, there was always the danger of a misfire, and the harsh living conditions meant the risk of disease was just as high as on the front lines. Albert was one of many to fall ill with pneumonia while serving, and he was granted a fortnight’s leave in December 1917, just as the weather was starting to become unbearably cold.

During this fortnight’s leave Albert seized his opportunity to marry Dorothy Flower, a young lady from Bath. Albert’s health unfortunately continued to worsen, and he had to be admitted to No. 2 Southern General Hospital in Bristol. Albert’s condition worsened very rapidly, and he died on the 27th of December, only ten days after his wedding. He is buried at Locksbrook Cemetery in Bath.

Francis, Albert's older brother, had died three months earlier. On September the 19th, at a hospital in London, he died from wounds inflicted at Arras while serving with the Machine Gun Corps. Francis was survived by his wife Kate and 8-year-old daughter Dora.