William’s surname is spelt incorrectly as Baguley on the War Memorial. The correct spelling is confirmed by the 1901 Census, his newspaper obituary and his entry on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Debt of Honour Register.
He was born in the late summer of 1895, the eldest son of William and Martha, 1 Crow Street, Portwood. The 1901 Census shows that William, senior, worked as a house painter and Martha as a cotton ring spinner. At the time, they had two other sons as well as William – 3 year old John and 11month old George. They would have another son whose name is not known but who, years later, would attend William’s funeral with his brothers and parents.
The 7th Battalion was formed in September 1914 and went to France the following July. It’s not known if William went overseas at that time or followed, after training, as part of a draft of reinforcements. During the summer and early autumn of 1916, the Battalion took part in the various stages of the Battle of the Somme and, at some point during this time, William was seriously wounded.
He will have been evacuated from the front line to a field hospital based some miles behind the fighting area. Here military surgeons will have operated on him and stabilised his condition prior to a move to a stationery hospital. This may still have been in France but, later, he was moved to Epsom War Hospital for further treatment, where he died as a direct result of the wounds.
William could have been buried in Epsom at the Army’s expense, but his family paid for his body to be brought back to Stockport. The Stockport Advertiser reported his funeral in its edition of 1 December. “The coffin was conveyed from the house to the churchyard in an open Windsor car and was covered by a Union Jack. The coffin was carried into the church by a party of bearers in charge of Sergeant Davison and the firing party and bugler came from Handforth.” Three volleys were fired over the grave and the “Last Post” was sounded.