Rank: Lance Corporal
Number: 46330
Unit: 13th Battalion ROYAL WELSH FUSILIERS
Date of Death: 26 August 1918
Cemetery: Bagneux British Cemetery, Gezaincourt, Somme, France

Almost nothing is known about William. Regimental records published after the War indicate he had been born in Mellor and his home was in Hyde. However, he didn't enlist into the army locally but in Birmingham - perhaps he was working in the city.

In preparation for a larger scale assault, the 13th Battalion was ordered to attack on 23 August and seize two German positions near the village of La Boiselle - scene of fierce fighting in 1916 during the Battle of the Somme. The Germans had regained the ground in March of 1918, when their spring offensive pushed the British back many miles. Covered by an artillery bombardment, the attack started at 4.55am, punching through the German lines to a depth of 1800 yards. The Regimental History records "It was not child's play, although all the objectives were taken by 9.45am". 21 men were known to have been killed. Another 19 were missing and 117 were wounded.

This was now a period of constant attack and advancement by the British and the fight was continued by other units over the coming days. The 26th saw the 13th Battalion back in the front line and with orders to lead the attack in their sector. Zero hour was set for 4am and the objective was the village of Longueval - another place that had seen fierce fighting in 1916. The Regimental History records:-

"From the commencement of the advance the 13th Battalion were badly hammered.......Machine gun fire was severe and the ground, over which the 1st Battalion had fought on the celebrated 16 July 1916, was difficult. Flank fire was the trouble. As troops worked their way up the central ridge towards Longueval they were raked from the high ground on the right about Montauban and on the left about High Wood". The Battalion advance was checked.

Sometime during this time, William was badly wounded. He will have received attention from the Battalion's medical officer, just behind the front line, but this will have been little more than first aid. He was then evacuated to Gezaincourt, near the town of Doullens. Several field hospitals were here and military surgeons will have done all they can to save him, but without success.

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