|Date of birth:||1896|
|Place of birth:||Southampton|
|Regiment:||2/8th (City of London)|
|Battalion:||Post Office Rifles|
|Died:||20th September 1917 aged 21 years|
Life before the War
We have had difficulty finding information for William but the following narrative represents the life of a Southampton born and bred soldier by that name.
William was the second known of 7 siblings born to Henry and Ellen Catherine (nee Wheeler). One sibling died young and it has proven difficult to track down information on this child. Henry was born in 1871 in St. Denys and Ellen in 1874 in Wickham. Both died in Southampton, Henry in 1942 and Ellen in 1950.
The family lived at 28 Sydney Road, Shirley and all the children were born there. William’s 5 surviving siblings were:
John Henry b.1901 and d.1978 Portsmouth. Married Ivy W. Stanborough in Portsmouth in 1930.
Ernest b.1906 and d.1987 Southampton. Married Alice Bown in Southampton in 1951.
Charles b.1909 and d.1982 Southampton.
The 2/8th (City of London) Post Office Rifles was formed in September 1914 and comprised mostly of General Post Office employees, as had the original 1st Battalion when formed back in 1868. The 2/8th arrived in France on 18 March 1915 and spent most of the war engaged around Ypres.
In September 1917 the battalion started training for what was to become the Battle of Menin Road Ridge, part of the Third Battle of Ypres. Their objective was to capture a portion of the ridge known as Wurst Farm in an attempt to cut the Germans off and force a surrender. In the event, the Post Office Rifles lost over half of their fighting strength in this one action. It is almost certain that William lost his life at Wurst Farm.
William’s name appears on Panel 54 of the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.
|Published:||15th April 2015|
|Updated:||Insert dates here|
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