WELLICOMBE, Willie Cecil

3625, Sergeant, Willie Cecil WELLICOME
Aged 27

1st/5th Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders
Killed in Action on Monday, 13th November 1916

Willie Cecil WELLICOME was born 1889 in Marlow (Wycombe Q3-1889 3A:667), 2nd of 5 sons of Richard and Emily WELLICOME (née COSTER).
He can be Willie or William on the records. He was registered as Willie. The Wotton under Edge memorial website has him born on 17th May 1890, which appears to be an error, more likely to be the date of baptism.

1891 census...Aged 1, he was at 5 High Street, Marlow with his father Richard WELLICOME [37] surveyor's assistant; his mother Emily [37]; sisters Alice D [8], Ellen F [6] and Ethel F [4]; brother Charles D.[3]. All were born in Marlow.

1901 census...Aged 11, he was still at 5 High Street, Marlow with his parents; sisters Alice, Ellen and Mabel C[7]; brothers Charles D, Arthur R [9], Edwyn C [4] and Edward P [2]. The new siblings were all born in Marlow.

He was educated at William Borlase's School in Marlow, going on to the East Anglian School in Bury St.Edmunds. He matriculated from London University. He is recorded as being an assistant teacher at Broomy Hill School in Hereford .

The Captain of Cricket from 1904 to 1907 was W.E.Wellicombe. An entry on Ancestry states that his father left a note and disappeared in 1907.

1911 census...Aged 21, as William Cecil Wellicombe he was an assistant teacher at Eversley School, Stamford, Lincolnshire. His mother was still at 5 High Street, a milliner, with his sisters Florence (Ellen) and Mabel and brother Cyril (Edwyn) [14] born Marlow, an outfitter's apprentice. 3 of Edith's 11 children had died (Gladys Amy 1882-1884), Emily May (1881-1890) and Edward Percy (1899-1902).
His father has not been identified in this census.
His mother's address given by CWGC was "West View" Marlow on Thames

He moved to Katharine Lady Berkeley's Grammar School in Wotton under Edge. On holidays he played football and cricket for Marlow and Buckinghamshire. Whilst in Wotton under Edge he met and became engaged to butcher's daughter, Vivien RICHINGS. They never married, and she went with her family to Canada after the war.

His brother Edwyn Cyril was killed serving in France in the Royal Fusiliers in July 1916. see here

Only Willie is named on the East Anglian School roll of honour. In Edwin's CWGC entry the address for his parents is 10 Glade Road, Marlow.

He enlisted in London in the 5th Battalion (Caithness and Sutherland) of the Seaforth Highlanders, a Territorial Force, training at one time in Bedford..
War diary :-
Beaumont Hamel - 13th- Battalion took part in the attack on Beaumont Hamel, their objective being a line about 200 yds E of Beaumont Hamel and the line of advance just south of AUCHONVILLERS - BEAUMONT HAMEL road. "A" and "B" Companies advanced in 4 waves on right, "C" and "D" in four waves on left of Battn frontage. The attack started at 5:45 am.
Owing to the enemy M.G. fire and uncut wire in the centre the advance was delayed and the barrage was lost. There was also a very thick fog and the attack was split up into small parties. The first German line was easily carried except for just S of BEAUMONT HAMEL road where a party of enemy put up a good fight. The 2nd line was soon afterwards carried, but the advance to the third line was held up by fire from two enemy machine guns. These were at length knocked out and the third line was occupied. In evening the battalion which then consisted of 90 men under Major Robertson with Capts Morrison, Murray, 2nd Lts Lupton, A J McKay, went through Beaumont Hamel and consolidated a line beyond. Casualties 10 officers wounded (2nd Lt A Mackay later died), 1 killed.

CWGC have 74 killed on 13th, 60 of them buried in Mailly Wood Cemetery. A fellow Sergeant, Sgt. Caughy wrote to his parents, reporting that Willie was shot by a sniper and died instantly.

photo: from First World War Heroes of Wotton-under-Edge

The plaque of the Marlow Methodist and Sunday School

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

William Wellicome is buried in Mailley Wood Cemetery, Mailly-Maillet, France, grave 1:H:22
also commemorated in Marlow All Saints, and the Methodist Church there and in Wotton under Edge.

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