MARTIN, William

No.S/766, Sergeant, William MARTIN
Aged 31

4th Battalion, Rifle Brigade ( The Prince Consort's Own)
Killed in Action on Monday, 15th April 1918

William Martin was born in Clare ( belived to be Risbridge Q3-1886 4A:627) son of William and Alice MARTIN (née PARKER ).

1891 census...Aged 4, he was at Malting Lane, Clare with his father William MARTIN [29] farm labourer; his mother Alice [28]; brothers George [9] and Fred [1]; sister Sarah [7]. All were born in Clare.

1901 census...Aged 14, assistant stockman, he was Bridewell Street, Clare with his grandfather William PARKER [82] on parish relief. At Bridewell Street, Clare were his parents, brothers Fred, Bertie [5] and English Robert [1]; sister Annie [3]. The new siblings all born in Clare.

1911 census...Not yet found in this census but his Army number suggests he enlisted in 1905. At Bridewell Street, Clare were his parents (father now stockman); brothers Bertie (farm labourer), English Robert and Walter [6] born Clare; niece Marie Florence MARTIN [1] born Battersea.

His Army "personal Effects entry gives his sole legatee as Mother-Alice, implying that he was still single.

His brother Fred, L Cpl 54421 Machine Gun Corps died 123-3-1918, killed in action. see here

He enlisted in Battersea, when resident in Clare.
Thanks to forum and Andy the following has been found from the regimental accounts:-
By 4.0a.m., April 15th, signal communication was established between Battalion H.Q. and all companies and at 5.0a.m. all was reported quiet . At 6.15a.m. "B" Company reported verbally that enemy movement could be heard in Prosenik and then that desultory rifle fire had been opened from the village, as no enemy could be seen, no reply was being made; some enemy bombs also had been thrown but had fallen short, whilst No. 5 Platoon Lewis gun opened fire with effect on a party of the enemy trying to cross the railway sixty or seventy yards to the right, and "C" Company engaged others in the centre of the village with rifle grenades.
At 7.0a.m. the enemy began shelling Top Crossing, fire gradually moving down towards "B" Company; at the same time an observation post of this company near the church was cut off; one wounded survivor rejoining his company three hours later. At this time hostile artillery fire opened on "C" Company's position and a line of Bulgars in extended order was seen advancing on that company from the north. Soon after 7.0a.m. telephone communication with "B" and "C" was broken and was never re-established, the lines being repaired repeatedly and, as frequently, cut once more.
At 10.0 a.m. Colonel Gathorne-Hardy sent a message by runner to O.C. "D" Company ordering him to inform "C" Company that, if heavily attacked, it should fall back on "D" Company.
At 11.0 a.m. a runner from "C" Company arrived at Battalion H.Q. to say that shelling was heavy but that, so far, there were no casualties; this was confirmed by another runner at 12.25 p.m., who brought a nil casualty report from "C" Company, signed by Captain Millar.
At 2.30 p.m. the enemy opened heavy rifle fire and machine gun fire on "C" Company's trenches from the railway station, north of the village, 2nd Lieutenant G. Hannam being wounded - the first casualty to be reported; the fire pinned "C" Company to its trenches and prevented the men putting their heads over the parapet, such was the fire.
Shortly before 3.0. p.m. the C.O. sent another message to "C" Company repeating the sense of his message of 10.0 a.m.
At 3.30 p.m. the enemy bombed and rushed "C" Company's left trench, and the garrison, No.12 Platoon, in attempting to fall back on No. 11 were caught in the open by machine gun fire from the railway station and suffered heavily. About 4 p.m. No. 11 Platoon drove off a small party of Bulgars which attempted to rush it, at about the same time, wounded men arriving at Battalion H.Q. reported "C" Company was in a tight corner. Two Platoons of "D" Company were ordered to be ready to counter-attack, but this never took place as more wounded men reported that "C" Company had been rushed and was completely out of action; this happened at 4.30 p.m.
Lieutenant R. Palk, tha acting Adjutant, was later sent up to find out the situation and order "B" Company to fall back; he found "C" Company's position in the hands of the enemy, estimated at three hundred men, and ordered the withdrawal of "B". This was carried out, supported by two platoons of "A", on whose position "B" Company withdrew. At 7.30 p.m. dispositions were made for the all round defence of Topalova. Casualties in "C" Company had been Captain A.L. Millar, and W.O. and fifteen other ranks killed; Lieutenant J.A. Read and 2nd Lieutenant G. Hannam wounded and missing with ninety six other ranks missing.

CWGC records have 21 killed in the battalion that day

William Martin is commemorated on the Doiran Memorial, Greece

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

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