Albert Bertine (christened Bertini) Heywood was born at Solihull in 1890, the eldest son and second child of Samuel Heywood, a general labourer and bricklayer, and his wife Maria Jane, both from Staffordshire. Five brothers would follow him into the world by the time of the 1901 census.
Nothing is yet known about Heywood’s early years. His early formal education ceased at the age of 16, for he worked as a lad porter at Swan Village railway station, West Bromwich from 1906 to 1908. At the age of 23, in 1911, he was serving in the Church Army as Assistant to Albert James Hill, a lay evangelist. Their mobile address in the census that year was a mission caravan. His lay preaching was temporarily set aside in October 1915 when he matriculated at Durham University to study Theology. He was an unattached student, and as such would not have been resident at Durham, visiting perhaps only to attend examinations. Such students studying for a Licentiate of Theology typically attended a theological training college associated with the university, were examined at Durham, and then went on to be ordained and follow a career in the Church of England. In 1916 Heywood successfully completed his first year of study, before the war interrupted his progress.
He trained first with the Artists' Rifles (28th Battalion London Regiment), before being commissioned a second lieutenant in the Yorkshire Light Infantry, as reported on 30 April 1917 by The Times. His transfer to a service battalion came on 16 October that year, with seniority from when he joined the London Regiment on 28 March 1917.
Albert Heywood was killed in action on 4 October. His unit, part of 64th Brigade 21st Division, was fighting in the Battle of Broodseinde, the most successful battle in the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) offensive and which caused substantial losses in territory and men on the German side. The allied objective was the village of Reutel, and it is here that Heywood is stated to have died.
Albert Heywood’s body was not recovered, and his sacrifice is therefore commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial. His name is also recorded in Durham University’s Roll of Service (1920).