William Humber

Date of birth: 11th September 1894
Place of birth: Niton, I.o.W
Regiment: Devonshire
Battalion: 2nd
Rank / Service No: Private, 31814
Died: 31st March 1918, aged 24 years
Commemorated: Pozieres Memorial, France


William was the second of 7 siblings born to Arthur John and Margaret Humber (nee Willsher), who married in Bursledon in 1892.


At the 1911 Census, the family were living at 5 Chamberlayne Road, Netley. They evidently had moved to Bursledon at the end of the 1890’s and then all moved to Bournemouth some time after 1911.


Arthur was born in Niton in 1871 and he died in Bournemouth in 1937.

Margaret was born in Bursledon in 1867 and she passed away in Bournemouth in 1955.



Joseph John   b. 14 November 1892 Niton   d. 1962 Bournemouth   Married Daisy T. Atkins in Bournemouth in 1924


Charles ALBERT   b. 1896 Niton   d. 1976 Bournemouth   Married Edith B. Gray in Bournemouth in 1920.

Margaret LOUISE   b. 1898 Bursledon   d. 1976 Bournemouth   Married James Forrester in Birmingham in 1922.

Denis   b. 14 September 1904 Bursledon   d. 1940 Bournemouth Married Winifred Emily Gillett in Bournemouth in 1929.

Lawrence   b. 1910 Bursledon   d. 1998 Bournemouth   Married Ada M. Washington in Bournemouth in 1947.

Herbert   b. 1910 Bursledon   dd. 1962 Bournemouth   Married Charlotte S. Still in Bournemouth in 1932.



The 2nd Devonshires were in Cairo at the outbreak of war, and returned to England on 1 October 1914.

They came under the orders of the 23rd Brigade in the 8th Division, and landed at Le Havre on 6 November 1914.


William almost certainly joined the battalion after its arrival on the Western Front and he was very lucky to survive as long as he did.

The battalion lost hundreds of men throughout the campaign; 250 at Aubers Ridge in May 1915 and 232 at La Boiselle in July 1915 alone.


The last big German offensive of the war began on 21 March 1918. The 2nd Devonshires were in reserve at the time.

Rushed to Peronne, they held off several German attacks on the 24th and 25th, suffering a further 322 casualties.


It must be assumed that William was one of these casualties, although his body was not recovered.


The Memorial relates to the period of crisis in March & April 1918, when the Allied 5th Army was driven back by overwhelming numbers across the former Somme battlefields.


It commemorates over 14000 UK casualties who had no known grave and who died on the Somme between 21 March and 7 August 1918.



Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 3rd October 2016


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