DRUMMER ALEXANDER WILLIAM BURR
ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT
1ST JULY 1916 AGE 18
BURIED: SERRE ROAD CEMETERY NO. 2, SOMME, FRANCE
Alexander Burr was killed at Beaumont Hamel on 1 July 1916. His body lay undiscovered until March 1928 when, in the absence of an identity disc, it was identified by the initials A.W.B. on the ring it was still wearing.
Drummer Burr was a bandsman, but don't get the idea that he was beating his drum as the soldiers went into battle that morning. That might have been his role in earlier wars but in 1916 he would have been a stretcher bearer, or perhaps a messenger boy. Either way he would have been in the heat of the battle - so much so that it was impossible to recover his body.
His inscription sounds as though it is quoted from a letter of condolence from Burr's senior officer. And however conventional the sentiments, and however many times the Captain had written it, the words evidently brought consolation to Burr's widowed mother - 'a good soldier', 'a real hero'. But they weren't necessarily empty words. My father was a soldier. He served in Burma during the Second World War and for the rest of his life the highest form of praise he could bestow on a young man were the words, "He would have made a good soldier".