Rank: Private
Number: 10451
Unit: 1st Battalion CHESHIRE Regiment
Date of Death: 7 May 1915
Cemetery: Menin Gate Memorial, Ieper, Belgium

Hugh came from the Edgeley area of Stockport. The family history website, FreeBMD, notes the birth of Hugh Towneley Wiilliams was registered at Stockport between April and June 1899 and this is, almost certainly, him.

He was the son of Hugh P Williams who, in 1915, was reported to be an ex-regular soldier but who had rejoined and was fighting with the New Zealand contingent at Gallipoli.

Hugh's service number with the Cheshires indicates he enlisted in August 1914, just after war was declared. He probably went overseas around the following January as part of the first draft of replacements for the regular army troops who had been killed or injured in the first few months of fighting.

Few details exist of the Battalion's activities on 7th May. Fighting around Hill 60, to the south of Ypres, had been going on for some time and, on 5 May, the Battalion was ordered out of reserve to move to support trenches near the Hill. As they reached open country near Zillebeke Lake, they came under a heavy shell barrage, combined with a gas attack. At this point in the war, their gas masks were nothing more than wadding held over the mouth by elastic. When they reached the support trenches, they were ordered into an attack as the Germans had recaptured the Hill. They were successful in capturing their allotted objective at Larch Wood, but other units failed to dislodge the Germans from the Hill.

The Battalion's War Diary makes no mention of the 6th or 7th and the Regimental History only records that "further attempts on the Hill were made at dawn on the 7th, but all failed". Records indicate that 20 men were killed on the 7th, including Hugh, Alfred Gillin and Charles Wilkinson.

Later an officer wrote to Hugh's mother "The only information I can give you is that he died as a British soldier facing the foe and was buried alongside several of his comrades and a cross with his regimental number and name was erected over his grave to mark his final resting place." This burial place will have been just behind the front line position where High was killed. Over the course of the war, many of these small burial grounds were destroyed by shellfire or the individual grave markers were lost. Hugh now has no known grave and is commemorated on the Memorial to the Missing along with over 54000 other soldiers.

© 2006. Design and Layout are the property of Ihelm Enterprises Limited and cannot be reproduced without express permission.
Enter Search Phrase Here:(search may take up to 30 seconds) 
Close Search Window