No.227685, Pioneer, William BLIZZARD
Aged 37

305th Road Construction Coy., Royal Engineers
Died of Illness on Sunday, 7th October 1917

William Blizazard was born in 1880 in Bardwell (Thingoe Q3-1880 4A:585), son of William and Fanny BLIZZARD (née BYFORD).

1881 census...Aged 9 months, he was at Spring House, Bardwell with his father William BLIZZARD [35] farm labourer born Bardwell; his mother Fanny [35] born Ixworth; sisters Emma [10] and Eliza [7] both born Bardwell and Annie [3] and Emily [2] both born in Ixworth Thorpe.

1891 census...Aged 10, he was at Quakers Lane, Bardwell with his parents; sisters Eliza, Sarah [9] and Ethel [5]; brother John [3] and cousin Ellis (recorded as grandson)[3]. All the new children were born in Bardwell

1901 census...Aged 20, a farm labourer, he was at 21 Quaker's Lane, Bardwell with his parents (father now farmer); sister Eliza; brother John and Ellie (now recorded a son), both farm labourers.

He married Edith Gertrude CHALLIS on 14th August 1904 in Bury St Edmunds, hence the brother in law of Reginald Challis. click here

1911 census...Aged 30, he was at Bardwell with his wife, Edith Gertrude [27] born Bardwell, and their daughter Gertrude Kate [4] born Ixworth 30th July 1906. Edith had borne two other children but sadly both died. They had one other daughter, Daisy Malvina, born 19th January 1913.

On the "Living Relatives" form completed by Edith in 1919 she states his parents were both dead, brother John and 8 sisters were living in Bardwell (all the sisters still recorded as BLIZZARD which does not seem likely.

He enlisted in Bury St.Edmunds on 29th December 1916, giving his age as 36 years 5 months, married, farm labourer, living in Bardwell. Details given of his marriage and birth of two daughters.He was 5 feet 2.5 inches tall (158.8 cm), weighed 121 lbs (55.1 kg) and chest 34" to 37" (86.4 to 94 cm). He was passed a B1 fit and placed on W Reserves.
Mobilised on 15th January 1917 he was sent to France on 3rd February 1917.
On October 4th 1917 he went sick and on 5th meningitis was suspected. On 6th a lumbar puncture was done and specimen sent to Le Havre. At the same time a telegram was sent to his wife telling her he was dangerously ill and permission could not be granted to visit him.
He died at No 14 Convalescent Depot on the 7th from Cerebro-Spinal Meningitis.

The Bury Free Press of 13th October 1917 reported:-

On Tuesday morning the sad news was received that another Bardwell man had died in France. Pioneer William Blizzard, R.E. who was reported in these columns a fortnight ago as suffering from being gassed. The news of his death from spotted fever, was received by Mrs. Blizzard in a telegram on Monday evening. The late Mr. Blizzard was a well known and respected resident and was, until he volunteered for road wok, an employee of the Thingoe District Council. He was a hard working man, a member of the Baptist Church and was an active member of the District Liberal Association. He leaves a wife and two young children to mourn their great loss. Mrs Blizzard has already lost her brother (Prvt R.Challis) in this war.Much sympathy is felt for her and the members of the family

A further article appeared in the Bury Free Press of 20th October :-

Mrs. W.Blizzard, of Quaker's Lane has received the following letter in reference to the sad death of her husband, Pioneer William Blizzard, R.E.:-
"No.14 Convalescent Depot, B.E.F., France, October 7th 1917. Dear Madam - I very much regret that as you have no doubt already been informed, your husband died here this morning at 5 o'clock of meningitis.He was under my care and you will be relieved to learn that he did not suffer. He will be buried to-morrow with military honours in the old French cemetery of Mont Ceassy, which immediately adjoins the camp, and his brother-in-law Footer, who is convalescent at the Depot, and who was kept informed of your husband's illness will be present - I am , your truly, R.S.Woods R.A.M.C." Prvt Footer, who also belongs to Bardwell, is a signaller in the Queens London Regiment.In a letter home he states he was present at the funeral, which took place in a lovely cemetery, and he hopes to get a photo of the grave, also have a cross erected in memory of his brother-in-law. The gallant deceased soldier was 37 years of age

Telegram regarding his death..the word 'Proelicas' at the end is just a telegraphic address used by the War Office for departments dealing with casualties"

photo: nick_2 via warmemorialsonline,

This plaque was moved from the Bardwell Baptist Chapel to St Peter and St.Paul's Church in 2013

Just two British buried here, William and a sailor, Engineman Gordon WEST from H.M. Drifter "Welcome Star."

William Blizzard is buried in Deauville Communal Cemetery, near the crucifix.
and commemorated on family headstone in Bardwell churchyard

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details