William Thomas Dunster

Date of birth: 1887
Place of birth: Poole
Regiment: Royal Army Medical Corps
Battalion: 129th Field Ambulance
Rank / Service No: Private, 48297
Died: 5th November 1918, aged 25 years
Buried: St. Severin Cemetery Extension, Rouen, France (Block S, Plot II, Row Y, Grave 17)



William was the oldest of 3 siblings born to Jonathan and Harriet Ada Dunster (nee Lockyer), who married in Poole in 1887.

Jonathan was born in Dorset in 1869. Two years after he married, he was accused of stealing 56lb of hay from one Edwin Vicker of Shepton Mallet; he was found not guilty as an accessory before the fact.

Jonathan died in Eastleigh in 1903.


Harriet was born in Poole in 1866 and she passed away in Eastleigh in 1932.



William Thomas

Beatrice   b. 1890 Yeovil   d. 1909 Pewsey

Elsie May   b. 1897 Eastleigh   d. 1973 Brent


William married Elizabeth Mary A. Benham in 1909 in Eastleigh. The couple lived at 119 Howard’s Grove, Shirley and had no children.

Elizabeth was born in Winchester in 1887. She remarried in 1931, to Edwin Cordwell, in Long Ashton, Somerset.

She passed away in Bournemouth in 1981.


The 129th Field Ambulance was based on the outskirts of Winchester during 1915. They were part of the 38th (Welsh) Division and landed at Le Havre on 2 December 1915.

In July 1916 the Division was in action at Mametz Wood on the Somme, suffering severe casualties.


The Division did not return to major action for 12 months, whilst it’s depleted ranks were replenished.


During 1917, they were in action at the Third Battle of Ypres.

The Division spent 1918 on the Somme, in the Battles of the Hindenburg Line and the Final Advance in Picardy.


William perished during the Final Advance, only a week before the war ended.


Rouen was a major centre for Allied hospitals for practically the whole of WW1.

The Extension was begun in September 1916 and the last burial took place in it in April 1920; it contains 8,348 Commonwealth dead.


William’s headstone reads: “ Until the dawn breaks. “



Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 13th July 2016


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