IN last week’s story of VE Day I mentioned that there were few men in the photos of the celebrations, and this was because they were still abroad in the services or sadly, they would not be coming home.

As a tribute to those who would not be coming back, I have decided to tell the story of one or two local men who did not return, starting with Northwich resident Alfred William Foster.

Alfred was born on New Years Day 1920 in Walsall in Staffordshire, now the West Midlands.

He joined the 4th Kings Shropshire Light Infantry on April 23, 1940.

Northwich Guardian:

On a visit to Northwich, he met and fell in love with local girl Nora Sutton, and they were married on October 2, 1943.

They settled at 66 Huxley Street, in Castle, and while Nora remained at the family home, Alfred continued with his army service and promotion to corporal.

In 1944 Nora became pregnant, and she gave birth to Judith Ann on February 18, 1945.

Sadly, Alfred was killed while fighting at Udem on February 26, just nine days after the birth of his daughter.

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He was not the only one killed over this period.

Operation Veritable, also known as the Battle of the Reichswald, involved a substantial loss of life between February 8 and the March 11, 1945 in the final stages of the war.

Field Marshall Montgomery conducted the operation, and the Germans were beaten.

The Allies had 15,634 casualties and the Germans had 44,239.

Alfred died at the very end of the war and never saw Nora or his new daughter, or celebrated VE Day with them.

He is buried in the war cemetery at Reichswald Forest, and the letter announcing the birth of Judith Ann did not arrive until March 7.

Northwich Guardian:

His sacrifice is recorded on the war memorial outside Northwich Parish church (pictured above).

Judith went on to have his grandchildren and his great-grandchildren.

Many thanks to the Cheshire County Memorial Project and Alfred Dewsbury for assistance in compiling this article.