Alfred E. Downing was born in 1888 in Warrington. He attested on August 11, 1914 as a Rifleman in the 7th Kings Royal Rifle Regiment when he was 25 years old.
He was rapidly promoted through the ranks to Sergeant and subsequently fought in Ypres and the Somme (where he was wounded and repatriated, spending 68 days in hospital). In May 1917 he was awarded a temporary commission and after 3 ½ months training joined the 9th Loyal North Lancashire Regiment in France as a 2nd Lieutenant. By May 1918 he was a platoon commander of D Company.
His full story is here.