William Frederick Webb

Date of birth: 1896
Place of birth: Southampton
Service No.: 374745
Rank: Rifleman
Regiment: 2/8th (City of London)
Battalion: Post Office Rifles
Died: 20th September 1917 aged 21 years
Death location: Ypres


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:

Daisy    b.1894
Florence    b.1898
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.

Service history
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.


Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 15th April 2015
Updated: Insert dates here

If you have any additional information about the person named above please complete the Comments section below.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s