RUSCOE, Alfred Cooper
(Service number 2287)

Aliases Alfie
First Rank Trooper Last Rank Trooper


Date 10 August 1878 Place of Birth Timaru

Enlistment Information

Date *August 1914 Age 36 years
Address at Enlistment London (Hyde Park Barracks)
Occupation Soldier
Previous Military Experience First Life Guards, Household Cavalry - about 13 years
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin [As at October 1900] Henry RUSCOE (father), 21 Wellesley Road, Napier, New Zealand; Herbert RUSCOE (eldest brother), 21 Wellesley Road, Napier, New Zealand; Arthur RUSCOE (younger brother), 21 Wellesley Road, Napier, New Zealand
Religion Congregational
Medical Information [As at October 1900] Height 5 feet 11½ inches. Weight 151 lbs. Chest measurement 36-38 inches. Physical development very good. Fresh complexion. Brown eyes. Black hair. Moles on left loin & back. [July 1912] Fit.

Military Service

Served with British Forces Served in Life Guards
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation Household Cavalry and Cavalry of the Line
Unit, Squadron, or Ship First Life Guards
Date *1914
Embarked From England Destination France
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Campaigns Western European
Service Medals 1914 Star; British War Medal; Victory Medal
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date


Date Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations


Date 13 May 1915 Age 36 years
Place of Death Ypres, Belgium
Cause Killed in action
Notices Woodville Examiner, 16 July 1915; Manawatu Herald, 20 July 1915
Memorial or Cemetery Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium; Karori Cemetery, Wellington
Memorial Reference Panel 3 Area 02, Block B, Row 12, Plot 038
New Zealand Memorials Timaru Memorial Wall (as ROSCOE A. C.)

Biographical Notes

Alfred Cooper Ruscoe, affectionately known as Alfie, was born on 10 August 1878 at Timaru, the third son of Henry Ruscoe and his second wife, Elizabeth née Cooper, Alfred being her second son. His parents had married in England in 1874 after the death of his father’s first wife. Henry and Elizabeth, with one of Henry's sons from his first marriage (the other had died in infancy) and a son born at sea, arrived in New Zealand in early 1875. From 1876 five more children were born, all at Timaru. In February 1878 Henry tendered successfully for maintaining pumps and wells within the Timaru Borough. Formerly an engine keeper, he asked in April 1882 to “be reinstated as a servant” of the Timaru Borough Council. As of November 1884 he was with the RailwayDepartment at Albury, but had exhibited at the Caledonain Masonic Lodge’s bazaar of fancy and useful work. His exhibit – the “Masonic Register” was described as a marvel of neatness and ingenuity. The frame of the Masonic Lodge register made by Mr Ruscoe was exhibited again in 1888, along with a the frame of a Masonic certificate. The family seems to have moved about and Alfie received his schooling at several places - Oamaru North, Albury, Fairlie, and for some four years at Temuka. They moved to the North Island in the 1890s.

Alfie went to England and enlisted in the 1st Life Guards on 8 October 1900 in London, having just landed from New Zealand. At this time he gave his occupation as a footman. 22 years 2 months old and born at Timaru, New Zealand, he was 5 feet 11½ inches tall (the height requirement was between 5 feet 11 inches and 6 feet 1 inch), weighed 151 pounds, had a chest measurement of 36-38 inches, and his physical development was very good. He had a fresh complexion, brown eyes, black hair, and moles on his left loin and back. His nominated next-of-kin was his father – Henry Ruscoe, 21 Wellesley Road, Napier, New Zealand, along with his eldest brother Herbert Ruscoe, and a younger brother, Arthur Ruscoe, both of the same address. Alfred was recorded as a soldier in 1901 when he and his brother Arthur, a draper, were living with Roscoe relatives at Bromsborough, Cheshire. In May 1903 he was appointed temporary corporal but reverted to the rank of trooper in November 1904 at his own request. When he was re-engaged with the 1st Life Guards on 20 July 1912, he had a first class Gymnastic qualification and was considered Fit. He had been revaccinated in 1909. Having joined the First Life Guards, Household Cavalry, he had been serving with them for about 13 years when he enlisted in London with the Expeditionary Force and embarked for the Front with the First Life Guards, of the Household Cavalry and Cavalry of the Line, early in the war. By that time his occupation was given as soldier, and his religious affiliation was Congregational. Trooper Alfred C. Ruscoe, 2287, disembarked on 6 October 1914 (in France), and landed in Belgium on 8 October. Up until August 1914, the Life Guards were stationed at barracks in Hyde Park, ready for active service in addition to their ceremonial duties. On the declaration of war, the 1st Life Guards contributed to the Household Cavalry Composite Regiment, serving in France and Belgium from the outbreak of war, and specifically at Ypres in 1914-1915.

Alfie’s parents moved from Wellington to Foxton in June 1913. While they were residing in Wellington their son Arthur and their younger daughter both married. Mr and Mrs Ruscoe, of Foxton, received a letter from their son Alfred, in early 1915. He had been in the thick of the fighting from September to November (1914) in the Ypres area. He was, fortunately, able to return to London at Christmas time – which was to be his last Christmas. He had also forwarded to his mother “Princess Mary’s gift box of sweets and one of the Queen’s gifts, a very neat writing companion.” The photos of their Majesties and the Princess were included, as well as the Christmas greetings. These were, no doubt, treasured by his English-born parents. But all too soon, on receipt of advice from Lieutenant-Colonel Lord Stanley, of the 1st Life Guards, they would be replaced by sorrow.

Trooper Alfred Cooper Ruscoe was killed in action on 13 May 1915, when he was hit by a shell in the second battle of Ypres, Belgium, aged 36 years. “For the Empire’s Call.” The First Life Guards had been in the thick of the fighting in the vicinity of Ypres since October 1914. He was awarded the 1914 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, which were to be despatched to his father. It was authorized that his effects be sent to his father, Mr Henry Ruscoe, Manakau Road, Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand. His name is inscribed on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium, under the First Life Guards; he is remembered on the Timaru Memorial Wall (as Roscoe A. C.). Alfred C. Ruscoe, 1st Life Guards, is remembered also on his parents’ headstone in Karori Cemetery, Wellington. Mrs Ruscoe died on 31 December 1918 in Wellington. Mr Ruscoe, who died on 22 September 1933 at his daughter’s residence at Woodville, predeceased by his son of his first marriage and by his beloved Alfie, was remembered especially for his efforts in establishing lodges in New Zealand and his long membership.

The WWI Pension Ledger for Alfred Cooper Ruscoe, of the Life Guards, who died on 13 May 1915, lists as next-of kin Monica Tuppin, Unmarried Wife, whose residence was Lewis Buildings, Chelsea. The 1918 electoral roll records Monica Ann Tuppin at D Block, Lewis Trust Buildings, Chelsea, London. Monica Ann Tuppin, who was born on 19 July 1878, died in 1975 in the Surrey area. Monica Tuppin, born in 1879, had been admitted to the Kensington and Chelsea Workhouse in 1906, and there she gave birth to a daughter. That child may belong to Alfred Ruscoe. Subsequently more children were born to Monica Tuppin in the London area, including a son named Alfred. In 1911 Monica Ann Tuppin (31 years old, born at Dungarvon, County Wesford, and single) and her first three children were residing in London. The daughter born in 1906 married in London in 1931 and had a family, before she and her husband came in the 1960s to New Zealand where they divorced and where, it appears, they both died.

His brother, Arthur Bertram Ruscoe served with the south African Constabulary in the South African War. Trooper Roscoe [sic] was the one who opened the bag of oats in which an Ashburton man had placed a note. Two of his brothers – Frederick Walter Ruscoe and Herbert Lyttelton Ruscoe – both served in World War I with the New Zealand Forces. Herbert’s son, Hugh Grenville Ruscoe, who enlisted when he was just fifteen years old, was killed in action on 12 October 1917, three months after his seventeenth birthday. While not the youngest soldier to give his life, he was among the youngest. And a cousin with whose family Alfred and Arthur were residing in 1901, served in World War I – Charles Ruscoe (Roscoe), as well as the husbands of two of his sisters.


CWGC [25 January 2017]; Service File (The National Archives, ref. WO-400-44-2287) [26 January 2017]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [19 March 2015, 23 January 2017]; Karori Cemetery headstone transcription [19 March 2015]; School Admission Records (South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [19 March 2015]; 1901 England census ( [27 January 2017]; WWI Pension Ledgers and Index Cards (per [04 May 2019]; UK Soldiers Died in the Great war, 1914-1919 (per [25 January 2017]; UK WWI Service Medal Rolls (per [25 January 2017; Medal Card (The National Archives – Discovery]) [17 June 2018]; UK Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects (per [25 January 2017]; UK Household Cavalry Records of Service (per [31 July 2020]; Timaru Herald, 14 February 1878, 29 January 1879, 25 April 1882, 6 November 1884, 1 May 1889, South Canterbury Times, 25 February 1881, 25 April 1882, 30 April 1889, Temuka Leader, 28 August 1888, Lyttelton Times, 28 June 1902, Dominion, 23 June 1910, Manawatu Herald, 10 June 1913, 20 July 1915 [x 2], Fielding Star, 6 March 1915, Otago Daily Times, 6 March 1915, Otago Witness, 10 March 1915, NZ Herald, 16 July 1915, Sun, 19 July 1915, Woodville Examiner, 16 July 1915, 3 January 1919, Manawatu Standard, 26 September 1933 (Papers Past) [05 November 2014; 27 January 2017; 11 January 2019; 12 January 2020; 31 July 2020]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [27 January 2017]; Menin Gate Memorial - 1st Life Guards Memorial (Find A Grave) [28 January 2017]; 1st Life Guards history (Wikipedia) [12 January 2020]; 1st Life Guards history ( [12 January 2020]; The 1st and 2nd Life Guards (The Long, Long Trail - [02 August 2020]

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

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