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Alfred Harold Keith Uptin
1897 - 1918

Alfred served with the 2nd (NSW) Battalion of the AIF, after first having been rejected as too lightweight to qualify for the AIF. He was a Lance Corporal signaller in B Company. He and three colleagues (Pte K.G. Randall, L/Cpl Fergusson, and Pte Hopwood) were killed simultaneously by an artillery shell near Proyart, northern France, whilst their battalion was engaged in a major offensive against German forces towards the end of the war. They were given a battlefield burial on the north edge of "St Martin's Wood" one mile East of Proyart, near harbonnieres. The Battalion erected a wooden cross over the four graves.

Testimonials by his colleagues: From Pte C. R. McKenzie 7747: "He was in B Company, 6th Platoon. I knew him well. He was 5'6", medium complexion and 24 years old. Married man. At Proyart after gaining our objective we were digging in on August 23rd 1918 at 10a.m. when Upton (sic) was killed instantly by a shell. He was buried near place of casualty, along with several others, that night and crosses were erected.

From Pte E.W.Davey 1645: "He was of B Company. On 23rd August about two km beyond Proyart near St Martins Wood. Was killed outright by shell. Same shell killed 4 others... they were in an old German dugout at the time. Was buried on the spot, all 5 men buried together. I was in burial party. One cross erected, with all names and C. on same. Grave is on the side of the wood."

From Lt Colonel A. B. Stevens.C/O of 2nd Battalion: "Uptin was Company Signaller in B Company, was slim built dark, about 5ft. 7 or 8 with bright eyes, and was very brave, and I recommended him for a Military Medal for a stunt in front of Merris about June last. He was in a dugout at Company Headquarters in August last year near Proyart which is near Harbonnieres, south of the Somme, when a shell came over and wounded the Company Commander Lieut. Cullen-Ward and killed three or four, including Uptin, who was killed outright. This was reported to me at the time by the Company. He was buried but I cannot say where, as I was sent to Rouen at the time."

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