Alfred Curme was born in Hampshire in 1895, the son of a coach painter and a dressmaker. He volunteered to serve in the Army at the outbreak of the Great War but was considered unfit for regular service, so he enlisted as a volunteer and served from 1915 to 1919, including service in France.
In 1922 Alf was successful in obtaining a contract from 'Sudan Government, Railways and Steamers' and he worked in Sudan, travelling extensively with his work until 1944 when he was awarded the Order of the Nile (Fifth Class) by King Farouk of Egypt. In 1945 he began rebuilding railways in post-war Germany for the Allied Control Commission.
Alf married Josephine Doyle in 1926 and they had one daughter, Joan, who was born in Sudan in 1931.
On return to the UK the family settled in West Sussex, and lived for a while in a converted railway carriage, before Alf built his own home.
Josephine died in 1974, and Alf thirteen years later in 1987, described on his death certificate as a Railway Engineer (Retired). Joan passed away in 2004.
A typescript biography of Alf was donated along with the collection, attached to a poem he wrote about his experiences on the Sudan railway.