William Ernest Bosworthick

Date of birth: January 1885
Place of birth: Aldershot
Service No.: 9907
Rank: Rifleman
Regiment / Division: Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort’s Own)
Battalion: 1st
Died: 27th April 1915 aged 30 years
Death location: Dochy Farm New British Cemetery, Plot X Grave B.28


Life before the War
William was the first of 10 siblings born to William Andrew and Theresa Bosworthick (nee McGee).

William Andrew was born in Portsmouth in 1862.  He enlisted in the Rifle Brigade whilst in his teens and served for 19 years, 13 of them as a Colour Serjeant.  He married Theresa on 10th March 1884 in Farnborough and moved to India with the 3rd Rifle Brigade in 1889.

Three offspring were born whilst the couple were in Jullundur, but only Francis survived past a few months.

Interestingly William Andrew re-enlisted on 9 September 1914 in Winchester, at the age of nearly 53, by which time the family were living in Shirley.  His attestation form clearly states “for UK service only” and he was officially a “reservist”.  On 30 April 1920, he was officially discharged from the Armed Forces.

William Ernest’s 9 siblings were:

Theresa Mabel b. 1886 in Harwich; d. 1967.
Marion Charlotte b. 16.6.1889 in Jullundur, India; d. 30.6.1889.
Andrew Charles b. 25.1.1891 in Jullundur, India; d. 8.2.1891.
Francis b. 1892 in Jullundur, India; d. March 1918 at Arras, France. To read Francis’s story select the link to his name.
Alice Edith b. 1894 in Winchester; d. 1981.
Gladys Lillian b. 1896 in Gosport; d. 1973.
Phyllis b. 1898 in Southampton; d. 14.2.1980.
Maud Elsie b. 1904 in Southampton; d. early 1913 aged 9 years.
Violet Dorothy b. 24.10.1905 in Southampton; d. 1977 in Poole.


War Service
William Ernest enlisted in the Rifle Brigade on 15 June 1903, aged 18yrs 5 months.  He listed his trade as “seaman” and there is evidence that he was a Ship’s Steward in the merchant navy.

In May 1907 William married Wilhelmina Jemima Daisy French in Southampton.  Despite the extravagant moniker, Wilhelmina was a local girl.

At the end of 1908, a son William Andrew was born.  Almost immediately Wilhelmina fell pregnant again and, in September 1909, Edward was born. Unfortunately he died almost straight away.

More misfortune befell the couple in 1914.  A son, Francis, was born mid-year but he too died far too early, in mid-1915, without William knowing.

The call to arms came on 4 August 1914 when, along with the 11th Brigade 4th Div., William’s unit arrived in Colchester.

On 18th August his unit was moved to Harrow School before mobilising towards the south coast, landing in Le Havre on 23rd August.

Many units of the Rifle Brigade were involved in the 2nd Battle of Ypres, in Belgium, in 1915.  It is quite probable that William lost his life during action around Hill 37, as this was a major action around the end of April 1915.

The Dochy Farm cemetery at Langemark-Poelkapelle is located close to Hill 37 near Ypres and was constructed after the Armistice when isolated graves were brought in from the battlefields of Boesinghe, St. Julien, Frezenberg and Passchendaele.  958 of the 1439 burials are unidentified.


Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published.: 11th August 2014
Updated: Insert dates here

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