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13 November 2014

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You are in: Manchester > History > Remembrance > Matthew Kelly: My Family At War

Matthew Kelly in a graveyard

At the cemetery near Ypres

Matthew Kelly: My Family At War

Matthew Kelly had always known that his great uncle Albert from Urmston had died during the Great War, but it wasn’t until he investigated his death with a BBC film crew that he discovered the extent of his suffering and bravery.

Albert Nugent was just 23 when he died in a German Prisoner of War camp in 1917. He was the eldest of seven children and the adored only boy of Matthew’s great grandparents.

Photograph of Albert Nugent

Albert Nugent: died 1917 aged 23

On a visit to the Battlefields of Ypres in Belgium and The Somme with the BBC’s My Family At War team, Matthew learnt through official records that Albert was sent back to the front, injured and shell-shocked, three times.

"I stood in the middle of a cornfield where he was finally wounded and carried away from a terrible battle where they begged the people at the top not to go ahead," said Matthew.

"The conditions were terrible. The weather was shocking and it was in a land he didn’t know. During his time he’d seen his entire battalion of 10,000 men wiped out and replaced."

Prisoner of War

Albert bravely fought in five major battles, was shot in the head and was given just two weeks to recover before going back into battle.
Matthew also travelled to Germany and to the Prisoner of War camp where Albert died and 91 years later, he located Albert's grave.

“I thought why does nobody in my family ever talk about it and I found out that it is because the grief was so great.

"My Auntie Marjorie told me for the first time recently that after Albert died, his mum took to her bed and never got up again. He was the light of their lives, their only son."

Watch Matthew Kelly’s quest to find his great uncle Albert in My Family At War, BBC One 10.35pm on Tuesday 4 November 2008

last updated: 05/11/2008 at 10:11
created: 04/11/2008

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