William George GOSLING
Rank: Corporal
Number: 61287
Unit: 40th Company MACHINE GUN CORPS
Date of Death: 7 November 1918
Age: 35 (based on 1901 Census)
Cemetery: Basra Memorial, Iraq

When the Census was taken in the spring of 1901, William was 18 and living with his parents, George and Elizabeth, and his younger brother, Harold, at 22 Bury Street, Stockport. William and his father both worked as labourers in the local hat making industry.

He had been born in the parish of St Thomas' church and it was there that, in 1905, he married Annie Turnbull. Nothing is known of his life between then and August 1914, when he enlisted into the Cheshire Regiment within a few days of War being declared on the 4th. His service number was 11877 and it is known, from his medal entitlement records, that he went on active service with the Regiment. This was probably with the Regiment's 8th Battalion which went to Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) in 1916. The Battalion was part of 40th Brigade as was the 40th Company of the Machine Gun Corps, so it seems likely that he was transferred to the Corps sometime whilst in Iraq.

Conditions in this theatre of the War were appalling. Extremes of temperature, poor sanitation and insufficient water all contributed to high levels of sickness and disease. Men who fell were taken by boat down the River Tigris, often taking two weeks before arriving at a hospital. It is not surprising that many, like William, died. They would have been buried near to the river but the location of many graves was lost over time. William's name is one of 40658 inscribed on the Memorial to the Missing at near Basra.

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