The World War I memorial at 34-36 Albert Street is inscribed with the names of 12 young men who lived in the street before their untimely deaths.

Retired history teacher John Cane, who lives in St Albans, investigated the stories behind the names ahead of Remembrance Day next month.

The first name inscribed, George Chamberlain, was born in Luton in 1891 to Alfred and Clara Chamberlain.

George worked as a gardener before the war, and married Fanny Holder in 1916. Fanny was the sister of Robert Holder, who is also commemorated on the memorial.

George joined the 1st Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment, and was killed in action on September 4, 1916, during the Battle of the Somme.

His younger brother Percy joined the Welsh Regiment and survived the war, living until 1957.

Also commemorated on the memorial are brothers Archibald and Percival Corley, who were two of the 11 children of Ernest and Charity Corley.

Percival was born in 1889 and Archibald was born in 1896.

The brothers lived in Albert Street, and Archibald, who was known by his middle name William, worked as a silk-thrower, while Percival worked as a fryer for a local fish shop.

Both brothers, who were in different regiments, were killed in action on the very same day - September 25, 1915, during the Battle of Loos. They would have been about 20km from each other when they died. 

Herts Advertiser: The loss of the Corley brothers was recorded in the Hertford Mercury and Reformer of 14th October 1916.The loss of the Corley brothers was recorded in the Hertford Mercury and Reformer of 14th October 1916. (Image: John Cane)

The brothers' nephew was named Percival in honour of his late uncle, and the second Percival was tragically killed at age 20 in World War II. 

Robert Holder, brother-in-law to George Chamberlain, was born in St Albans in 1889.

He worked as a carman - driving a horse-drawn vehicle for local deliveries - and married Florence Deacon in 1910, with whom he had three children, Robert, Ernest and Doris.

Robert became a private in the 9th Battalion Essex Regiment, and died from a bomb wound in 1917, which may have been accidental rather than in combat. He was 28 when he died.

His daughter Doris died in 1921, aged five, and Florence raised their two sons alone, remaining in St Albans until her death in 1977.

Brothers Richard and Ernest Dunham are the second pair of siblings to be commemorated on the memorial. Ernest was born in 1896 and Richard in 1898.

The family moved to Albert Street in 1910. The 1911 census reveals that Ernest worked as an office boy for a dyers and bleachers company, which probably bleached straw plaits for the local hat-making industry.

During the war Richard joined the London Regiment, where he became a corporal. He was killed in action at the age of 19 on the Oise Canal, during a German offensive called Operation Michael.

Ernest served as a gunner in the Royal Field Artillery. He was killed in action at the age of 21 on October 8, 1918 - just over a month before the Armistice.

The stories behind the next six names inscribed on the memorial will be published in the coming weeks.