WOODLEY, William

No.40732, Private, William WOODLEY
Aged 25

1st Battalion, Essex Regiment
formerly 19585, Northamptonshire Regiment
Killed in Action presumed on Saturday, 14th April 1917

William Woodley was born in Castle Camps 1890 (Linton Q2-1893 3B:501), baptised in Castle Camps Congregational Church on 15th June 1890, son of Barnard and Kate WOODLEY (née PARKIN).

1891 census...Aged 10 months he was at Haverhill Road, Castle Camps with his father Barnard WOODLEY [27] hay trusser born Castle Camps and his mother Kate [27] born Saffron Walden.

1901 census...Aged 10, he was at Castle Camps with his parents and brothers Ellis [7] and Thomas [4], both brothers born in Castle Camps.

1911 census...Aged 20, a farm wagoner he was at 4th milestone, Malton Road, Stockton on Forest, Yorkshire working for Amos WATSON. His parents were still in Castle Camps with his brothers Thomas (farm labourer) and David John [8] born Castle Camps. Brother Ellis, aged 17 was living and working at Black Averham Farm, Harton, N Yorkshire for George LUCAS.

His younger brother Ellis died of his wounds, serving in France in the Royal Field Artillery in 1916 see here

He enlisted in Linton.
The war diary is too long for this purpose, but it does tell us they were in the line at Monchy le Preux and on 14th, together with the Newfoundlanders attacked the German lines at 5:30 am.
By 6:35 they had reached most of their objectives and some were in Monchy. A very strong German counter attack overwhelmed some companies and threatened to re take Monchy. It was recorded that despite all their efforts the Germans never entered Monchy, however many of the battalion's platoons and whole companies had been destroyed. From starting with 35 officers and 892 ORs, they came out of the line at 8 pm with 17 Officers and 644 men recorded as casualties. The Newfoundlanders were similarly mauled.
Both 1st Essex and the Newfoundlanders were withdrawn to reserve but within a few days the remains of the two Battalions were combined and returned to the trenches. The battalion was named the 1st Newfoundessex Battalion with a strength of just 400.

CWGC records a total of 185 killed on the 14th, only six of them have identified graves.

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

William Woodley is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, Faubourg d'Amiens, bay 7

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

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