People on board
AVELINE, Alec Pendock
Alec Pendock Aveline was born on the 17th of October 1897 in Reading, Berkshire to Sydney Aveline and Gertrude Pike. He was the third of their five children and the only surviving son, two other sons dying young in 1892 and 1901. Sydney Aveline was a Dental Surgeon with responsibility for the Reading Dispensary. Alec Aveline attended Reading Grammar School where he showed leadership qualities in several fields as detailed in a biography published in the 2013 issue of the past pupils’ magazine.
In 1915 he became a Gentleman Cadet at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst and in October 1916 joined the 1st Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment as 2nd Lieutenant. He received the Military Cross for his actions in an event at Courcelette on the Somme in February 1917. He led a raid against the enemy trenches, capturing fifty-two prisoners and “showing conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty”. In April 1917 he was wounded in the foot and evacuated to hospital in England and subsequently posted to the 3rd Reserve Battalion, which was then in Dublin.
He was returning to the 1st Battalion when he travelled on RMS Leinster on the 10th of October 1918. He was thrown into the water, and according to the Reading Mercury on the 19th, he was swimming about for two hours before he was picked up by a destroyer. “He was severely bruised by wreckage, but has now quite recovered”, the paper reported.
Alec Aveline remained as a career soldier, rising through the ranks in postings in the Middle East and India and then in a home posting involving the reorganisation of regiments and battalions. In late 1936, then a Major, he married Sheila Fletcher Mossop in Moascar British Army Camp in Ismailia, Egypt. A son, Gordon, was born in Elham, Kent in 1938. He spent much of the 2nd World War in India where his promotion was rapid, receiving command of a Brigade in 1944. Post-war he was involved in the administrative problems of the division of the country between India and Pakistan, for which work he received an O.B.E. in 1947.
He enjoyed a long and active retirement, becoming Commanding Officer of the Berkshire Home Guard. He died in 1982 at the age of eighty-four and was buried in St Mary’s Churchyard, Eversley, Hampshire.