World War 1

Search the known records to date of those lost from the wider Alnwick area in World War 1

Generally showing where they are commemorated, when they died and some basic facts about each person. There are gaps, however, so if you can fill in any missing details do please contact us.

Francis Purvis Railson

Francis Purvis



Service Number:


Northumberland Fusiliers, 1/5th Battalion Territorial Force



Soissons Memorial

Service History:
Enlisted at Seghill, Northumberland.

Railson probably joined his battalion on the Western Front in mid- to late-1916 following the Conscription Act of May that year which extended conscription to married men.

In May 1918 the 1/5th Battalion T.F. took part in the Third Battle of the Aisne (27 May - 6 June). The German attack began at 01:00hrs on 27 May with a ferocious heavy artillery bombardment & gas shells. The battalion was disposed in open ground & when sent forward were unable to make any progress & suffered heavy casualties.

At noon the battalion fell back to the canal bank which they held for a while but were forced further back when the enemy crossed the River Aisne. They held a position on high ground until 23:00hrs when they they discovered that the enemy was still advancing & they were threatened with encirlement which prompted a further retirement.

When the battalion was finally withdrawn on the following day the roll call found they'd lost 3 Officers & 10 Other Ranks killed; 3 officers & 99 O.R. wounded; & 11 officers & 374 O.R. missing. Railson was one of the missing, presumed dead.
(Source: 'Felton War Memorial: The Men behind the names'; Eleanor George [formerly Hall]; 2009; p. 51)

Born in 1883, at Newton-on-the Moor, Northumberland, the second of five children born to John Railson (a Gardener), by his wife, Jane Railson (née Purvis), of Swarland Garden House, Felton.

Purvis was a Gardener, like his father, & in 1911 was working in the Alnwick area.

In 1907, he married Ann McMahon. Their son, John, was born in 1910.
(Source: 'Felton War Memorial: The Men behind the names'; Eleanor George [formerly Hall]; 2009; p. 51)

Local Memorial:
Felton War Memorial incorporating Acton, Eshott, Swarland & Thirston