William Mellis MEIKLE
Rank: Private
Number: 1858
Unit: 1/6th Battalion CHESHIRE Regiment
Date of Death: 26 February 1915
Age: 39
Cemetery: Menin Gate Memorial, Ieper, Belgium

William had been born in Hollinwood, Oldham, the son of Jane and the late Frederick Meikle.

Frederick's birth was registered at Stockport between January and March 1847 and he died between April and July 1895. The 1901 Census notes he had the following children:- David (then aged 19, born in Edmonton,Essex and working as "carter on" for a builder); Emily (11, born Stockport); Frederick (21, born Edmonton, a gasser at a cotton mill); George (17, born Stockport, yarn spinner); John (23 born  Crumpsall, Manchester); Margaret (13, born Stockport, cop winder at cotton mill) and Mary (15, born Stockport, hemp spinner). Jane is also recorded, aged 48.

No-one of William's name and age appears on the Census which, if this is not an error, suggests he was not in the country at the time. Possibly he was serving with the army as a regular soldier. His brother, Frederick, is also commemorated on the memorial, having been killed in action on 9 September 1918.

Although William may not have been in the country in Mar 1901, he was certainly in Stockport in the late autumn of 1902, as he married Martha Ann Hardy between October and December. By the time the War Graves Commission was collating its casualty information, in the early 1920s, she had also died.

William was almost certainly a pre-war member of the Territorial Army and was mobilised when war was declared in August 1914. Details of the Battalion's early weeks can be found here. William is recorded by the military as having "died". This word normally suggests that the death was from natural causes (as opposed to "died of wounds" or "killed in action"). Most soldiers who died have a known grave as the death often took place in hospital. In William's case, he has no known grave. Many graves, particularly those near the front line, were lost due to artillery shelling during the course of the war and this is probably what happened to William's.

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