William Henry Bougourd

Date of birth: 1895
Place of birth: Guernsey
Service No.: 1544
Rank: Private
Regiment: Royal Guernsey Light Infantry
Battalion: 1st  battalion
Died: 1 December 1917, aged 22 years
Commemorated: Cambrai Memorial, Louverval, France (Panel 13)

Life before the War

William was the younger of 2 siblings born to Peter John and Mary Ann Bougourd (nee Young), who married on 6 August 1892 in Guernsey.

There was also a half-brother, Wilfred Christopher Lake, who was the only child of Mary Ann and David Arthur Lake.

Mary Ann was born in Guernsey in 1869 and she died in Southampton in 1956.

Wilfred was born in Guernsey in 1889, the same year that David died. He married Mary Frances Philips in Guernsey on 22 December 1906. They moved to Ontario in Canada, where they had at least 11 children ! Wilfred died in Hamilton on 24 December 1979.

William’s brother was Alfred John, who was born in Guernsey in 1893. He married Evelyn Mary Burt in Southampton in 1921, and he died in the city in 1976.

War Service

The Royal Guernsey Light Infantry was formed from the Royal Guernsey Militia in 1916. They fought in WW1 as part of the British 29th Division. The battalion trained near Canterbury before leaving Southampton bound for France in late September 1917.

They took part in the Battle of Cambrai, where the battalion’s role was to go through the Hindenburg Line after the first wave, and take “Nine Wood” to the north of Marcoing. This operation went according to plan and they then moved into the town and on to the front line at Masnieres.

The Guernseymen found themselves defending the small town of Les Rues Vertes against a huge and determined German counter-attack for 2 days. They suffered heavy casualties, with nearly 40% of the regiment ither killed or injured during the battle, but only withdrew when ordered bu the High Command.

Of the 2280 Guernseymen who fought in WW1 with the R.G.L.I, 327 died and 667 were wounded.

Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 22.10.15

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