William Samuel Field

Date of birth: 1895
Place of birth: Sydney, Australia
Regiment: Royal Engineers
Battalion: 2nd Special Coy.
Rank / Service No: Pioneer, 128836
Died: 6th April 1917, aged 21 years
Buried: Ecoivres Military Cemetery, Mont-St Eloi, France (Plot VI, Row B, Grave 13)


This is a very brief history of William and his family, if only because there is little sibling information available.


According to the 1911 Census, William was one of 5 siblings born to John James and Sarah Ann Field (nee Webb), who married in Portsmouth in 1884.

John James had been in the Royal Navy, as is evidenced by the 1901 Census, where he was in Malta. In later life, he worked in the copper industry, which probably explains the regular trips to Australia.


John was born in Portsmouth in 1859 and he died in the New Forest in 1941.

Sarah was born on 16 November 1859 in Portsmouth and she died in Australia, on 16 November 1924. She is buried in Rookwood Cemetery, Sydney.


Both parents had left London bound for Australia on 16 September 1920, but only John returned to Southampton on 25 May 1924……..this is somewhat strange, bearing in mind Sarah’s date of death.


At the age of 16, William is shown as a Hairdresser ! Very little information is available about his unit in the R.E., although they were definitely something to do with dispensing gas against the enemy.


Plot VI in the cemetery contains graves of men killed in the capture of Vimy Ridge in April 1917, so this offers a clue as to where William met his end.

He is buried with 14 other R.E. soldiers who were killed on 6 April 1917, contributing to a total of 1,728 Commonwealth WW1 burials in the cemetery.


William’s headstone reads: “ Greater love hath no man.”



Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 19th July 2016


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