21st Division 1914-18...a divisional history

Brigade-Major 64th Brigade, Captain

Alfred Gerald Meredith Sharpe, DSO, OBE, retired as a Colonel in 1944.

Royal Berkshire Regiment  

Alfred Meredith Sharpe was born to Alfred Ingram Sharpe, being commissioned 2nd LT in to the Royal Berkshire Regiment on the 18th November 1903, after passing out of the Royal Military College, Sandhurst.

He was promoted to Lt on 20th May 1906 and Captain on 10th April 1912, whilst in between marrying Kathleen Beatrice Alice Ricketts in 1910.

In 1913, 16th February he was seconded for duty as Adjutant in the terratrial battalion of the regiment. He was in this command when war broke out yet he still maintained links to his old battalion attending the funerals of  Lieutenant C W Green and 2/Lieutenant E K Colbourne at the Military Cemetery Chocques on the 27th of June 1915. He also was a guest at the Mess at Bethune on the 6th July of the same year.

Leave from 26th August to the 4th September 1915 was followed by a mention in despatches on the 15th of October and then on the 27th of the same month the battalion records show this entry.

     Capt Sharpe left the Bn to rejoin the 1st Bn. It was with great regret we parted after
     being so long together. He was very popular with all ranks and will be greatly

This effectively restored him to the establishment as he returned to the 1st battalion and a temporary rank of Major, which held until 2nd July 1916. Whilst with the 1st battalion he was court martialed on the 29th June 1916 - but acquitted. It apparently l relates to an incident in Zouaves Valley when it is alleged the battalion faltered in an attack whilst under his command. The real truth appears to be that he did not get on with the Brigade commander Kellett.

On the 29th of march 1917 he replaced Captain H. R. Gallatly, M.C. as the Brigade major of the 62nd, part of 21st division. He would hold this position until leaving for a position as a GSO2 on the 6th of August 1918, seeing action at Arras in April 1917 and later during the actions at 3rd Ypres the same year. He was involved to in the German attacks of march 1918 and ably assisted his brigade commander in those desperate days. He had been established a brevet major on the 1st January 1918.

He had whilst still part of 62nd brigade been commended for his valour and apptitude at a critical time, gazetted DSO in the papers as,

    16.9.18 LG: "Sharpe, Alfred Gerald Meredith, Capt and Brevet Major,
    R Berkshire regt. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during
    a week's operations. When the enemy had launched a heavy attack, and
    driven back the brigade on the right, laying open the right flank, this officer
    went forward under heavy fire to clear up the situation, selected positions,
    and led up reserve companies to form a defensive flank. He also rallied
    leaderless men of other units and led them forward into the line. He gave
    a clear and accurate report of the situation on his return to brigade headquarters

On the 6th November he was awarded the Croix de Guerre (French),

He held the temporary rank of Major whilst GSO 2nd Grade, until  20th August 1919. When he was appointed GSO1 and temp. Lt. Col. from 21st August 1919 to 26-1-1920. On the 24th October 1919 he was awarded, Ordre de la Gouronne avec Croix de Guerre, Officier and an OBE on the 12th December of the same year.

With the winding down of the war and the shrinking of the army came reductions in standings and ranks. As such he became GSO2 on the 26th January 1920. He was awarded the Order of the Crown of Italy, Officer on the 24th of March 1921. He was still a brevet Major. Full majority was granted on the 22nd January 1923.

Away from army matters Sharpe was a keen spotsman and played in the army squash championship in 1925.

He was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel on the 19th August 1928 and held the command of the 1st Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment from 1928 to 1932. Brevet Colonel from 6th May 1932 and full Colonelcy on the 19th August 1932 with seniority from 6th May was followed by command of 164th (North Lancashire) Infantry Brigade from April 1932 to May 1936.

He attended an annual dinner, 99th (Buckinghamshire and Berkshire Yeomanry) Field Brigade, R.A., 1934and one for his old 4th battalion in 1935.

On 6th may 1936 he was retired on retired pay, seemingly taking some role in WW2 as he was once again retired to retired pay on 12th February 1944.