CANT, Alfred

No.5823144, Company Sergeant Major, Alfred CANT
Aged 38

1st Battalion, Cambridgeshire Regiment
Killed in Action on Friday, 13th February 1942

Alfred Cant was born in Ousden on 19th November 1903,(Risbridge Q4-1903 4A:894) son of Zaccheus Laachens and Emily Henrietta Florence CANT (née de GUISE ).

1911 census...Aged 7, he was at Ladys Green, Wickhambrook with his father Zaccheus CANT [36] farm labourer, born Wickhambrook; his mother Florence [33] born Norwood, Surrey; brother Richard [5] born Norwood, Surrey, sister Herter Rebecca [3] born Wickhambrook and brother David [7 months] born Wickhambrook.

He married Evelyn May NICHOLSON (Colchester Q4-1933 4A:1999) later of Colchester. They had a daughter, Lynda M born Colchester 1942.

In the 1939 register it appears that Alfred was home on leave at 6 St Andrews Street North, Bury St Edmunds, with his wife Evelny M [12-11-1910] and Alice P Wilson [9-11-1864].

C.S.M. Alfred Cant was with No 1. Reinforcement Company, they were brought up to counter attack and clear Water Tower Hill of the enemy. Captain Marriott (of Newmarket) led his men into the valley and despite heavy machine gun fire pressed home their attack. Capt Marriott was seen to be wounded but picked himself up and waved his men on. Charging towards an enemy machine gun post he was shot again. Lt Orton Taylor (also from Newmarket) took command and led the attack. The Reinforcement Company hurled themselves against the enemy using grenades, small arms and the bayonet. After the third attack the enemy broke and left the hill in Cambridgeshire hands but at a high cost. Most of its officers and the majority of its senior N.C.O.s were lost in the fighting.

Michael Moore's book "Battalion at War" deals with the 1st battalion, Cambridgeshire Regiment, Singapore. They were arguably the only unit to hold their allotted ground throughout the invasion, until the capitulation on 15th February 1942.

His inscription on the lych gate

photo from

Alfred Cant is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial, column 57

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details