WOODLEY, William Benjamin

No.9720, Sergeant, William WOODLEY
Aged 21

1st Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales'Own)
Died of his Wounds on Monday, 14th February 1916

William Benjamin Woodley was born in Ashdon (Saffron Walden Q3-1894 4A:669), son of Frederick and Mary WOODLEY (née WEBB).

1901 census...Aged 6 (he was at The Cottage, Ruddock House, Radwinter with his parents (father now horsekeeper); sisters Ethel, Ellen [3] Ivy [2] both Ashdon, and Lily [2 months] born Radwinter; brothers Herbert G, Victor, and Oscar [5] born Ashdon.

1911 census...Aged 16, a farm labourer, he was at Endway, Castle Camps with his parents (father farm labourer); brothers Herbert Godfrey, Victor William and Frederick Oscar Osborne (all farm labourers), Thomas Morris [9] and Frank Reginald [4] both born Ashdon; sisters Ellen O.Ella and Ivy Rosetta, Ella May [5] born Ashdon and Doris Lilly [11 months] born Cambridge. His mother had borne 14 children but lost three.

So far the only Helions Bumpstead connection documented is his mother and sister Ethel's birth there, but it appears that they moved on after 1911. His CWGc entry gives the address as Hampstead Green, Helions Bumpstead. The pension card for the brothers puts their mother at Holmstead (sic) Green, Helions Bumpstead, Essex. Should be Olmstead.
At the end of the day it may be down to where you draw the line between Castle Camps and Helions Bumpstead. "Soldiers Died" actually has him born in Bartlow, South Maldon, Essex. The "South Maldon" seems an error, but Bartlow may well be another case of where did the parish boundaries run between Ashdon and Bartlow since census records give several of the Woodley children as born in Ashdon, but not exactly where

His brother Herbert Godfrey was killed in Palestine in 1917 serving in the Essex Regiment see here

He enlisted in York as a Regular soldier, his number suggests early 1912. Although he was in France early enough for the 1914 Star he was not awarded the clasp for coming within range of the enemy guns, the proper qualification of an Old Contemptible. This could be due to his being Base Garrison (according to the entry on Ancestry) and therefore not in he front line before November 22nd 1914, or, as with many men, relatives did not realise the clasp had to be claimed and checked against records.
The 1st Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment had 4 days in billets at Poperinghe 6th to 9th February before returning to the trenches around Hooge and Railway Wood. The exact date and location of where William was wounded is not known.

http://www.lijssenthoek.be/en/adres/7873/-william-woodley.html has him in 17 Casualty Clearing Station with gunshot wounds to abdomen and thigh

photo:Rodney Gibson

William Woodley is buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, grave 22:C:38

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

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