COUSINS, William Henry

No.40008, Private, William Henry COUSINS
Aged 21

7th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Friday, 22nd March 1918

William Henry Cousins was born on 4th October 1896 in Thetford (Thetford Q4-1896 4B:379), baptised 1st November 1896 in Thetford, son of William and Ellen Laurena COUSINS (née WINDWORD).

1901 census...Aged 5, he was at 8 Star Lane, Thetford with his father William COUSINS [48] surveyor's labourer; his mother Ellen [45]; brother Frederick [19] labourer/carter and Ernest [12]; sisters Elizabeth [10], Eliza [7] and Mildred [2]. All were born in Thetford.

In 1906 he was at Elveden Voluntary Aided School.

1911 census...Aged 14 domestic gardener's apprentice, he was at 71 Crossways, Elveden with his parents (father now engine driver stationary); brother Ernest (labourer-roads); sisters Mildred and Nellie [9] born Thetford. There had been 12 children but 4 had died.

In May 1919 the family consisted of his parents, at 71 Crossway, Elveden; brothers Arthur John [43] (Grays, Essex), Frederick James [40] (Chandlers Ford) and Ernest Edward [31] (Army-Italy); sisters Elizabeth Laurena [28](Elveden with parents), Eliza Jane [26] (19 Colnbrooke St, Southend), Mildred [20](32 Solent St., Ardwick and Nellie [17] (London House, Brandon).

He enlisted in Brandon on 17th March 1914 for 4th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment. He was 5 feet 7 inches (170.2 cm)tall, gave his age as 17 years 5 months, born Thetford, a houseboy. Embodied 5th August.Posted to BEF 17th August 1961 and transferred to the 9th Battalion on 4th September 1916. He received a gunshot wound to the left shoulder on 19th September but was only out of action for 18 days and then to the 3rd on 17th November. Posted to depot on 17th December and 1st battalion 26th December, before depot on 29th for treatment for a hernia which was healed by 8th March 1917, and then to the 3rd on 19th March 1917. Finally he joined the 7th battalion on 20th May 1917. He had a gun shot wound to the left hand on 20th November 1917. He was still with the 7th when killed in action on 22nd March 1918

It was the second day of the German Spring offensive but that had not yet reached the Norfolks,they had just been relived by the King's Liverpool regiment and marched back to camp in Estaires
Battalion War Diary:-
22 - A battalion parade was held today. In the evening some shells fell in the town of Estaires and several of our men were wounded

CWGC record show 3 of the battalion were killed

photo: Rodney Gibson

photo: Rodney Gibson

William Cousins is buried in Estaires Communal Cemetery Extension, grave 5:D:7
and also on the Weather Heath Memorial (Elveden Column by the A11)

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