Alfred Cecil Joiner (1890-1919)
Private 25869 1st Reserve Garrison Battalion
On 19th January 1918, a wedding took place at St. Agatha’s between Alfred Cecil Joiner, who had been a journalist and was an officer’s batman in the army, and clerk Mabel Annie Coleman.
Alfred Cecil Joiner, known as Alf as a boy and as Cecil as an adult, was born in Sparkbrook in 1890. He was the second surviving child of five of Arthur George Joiner, a maker of blinds, and of Caroline (Carrie) Hunt. The Joiner extended family, grandparents, parents and children, lived at 167 Cattell Road in Bordesley.
Cecil became a junior reporter on a weekly paper in Birmingham, the family by then living at 9 Claremont Road in Sparkbrook.
By 1915 Cecil was living in Richmond, Surrey, working as a journalist. In November that year Cecil attested for the East Surrey Regiment. The record shows that he was 5’ 7½” tall, with a 37” chest. Cecil weighed 156 lbs (11st 2lbs). He had blue eyes and a fresh complexion. Cecil’s vision was poor (without glasses he could read only the top line of the optician’s chart), and he was placed in medical category IIIa / B2 – fit for garrison or other non-frontline duty overseas.
Cecil was mobilised on 12th February 1916, and transferred to the Suffolk Regiment. In December he became an officer’s servant (batman) attached to 269 Company Railway Troops, Royal Engineers, and was sent to France on 17th June 1917.
Cecil married Mabel six months later, when on leave. Mabel was a brass foundry clerk, living with her family at 41, Medlicott Road in Sparkbrook – her father was an insurance agent. Cecil returned to France (perhaps oddly, taking the marriage certificate with him). After the Armistice, Cecil was compulsorily transferred to the Labour Corps. He was back home in January 1919, being demobilised while on leave.
Cecil resumed his career as a journalist, he and Mabel living in Richmond, but just two months later, on 28th March 1919, Cecil died of influenza and pneumonia.