William Harding W WATSON
Rank: Gunner
Number: 43075
Unit: 40th Battery, 43rd Brigade ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY
Date of Death: 15 December 1915
Age: 19
Cemetery: Fosse 7 Mill Cemetery (Quality Street), Mazingarbe, Pas de Calais, France

Deaths from “friendly fire” are not a new phenomenon and William and five of his comrades fell victim to exactly that. The Germans were entrenched near a coal pit known as Fosse 7. Heavy Britsh artillery shelled them in the afternoon but, during the bombardment, three shells fell short landing amongst the men of 40th Battery whose were much nearer the front line.

William was the son of Fred and Elizabeth. Fred was a butcher by trade and, in 1901, the family was living at 21 Middle Hillgate, Stockport. Some years later, they had moved a few doors away to No. 65 and he and Elizabeth were running “dining rooms” there. After the war, their address was 32 Finland Road, Edgeley.

William had studied at Stockport Technical College and worked for Sydney Heywood & Co, Brooklands Road, Reddish. The Company were electrical and structural engineers. In his spare time, he was a Sunday School teacher at St Mary’s Church. He enlisted into the army, at Preston, on 26 June 1915.

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