TALBOT, William Robert

No.18090, Private, William Robert TALBOT
Aged 22

11th Battalion, Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment)
formerly No.2434, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on 20th April 1917

William Robert Talbot was born in 1895 in Timworth (Thingoe Q1-1895 4A:816), son of Herbert Harry and Eliza TALBOT (née MOORE).

1901 census...Aged 6, Willie was at Hall Farm Cottages, Timworth with his father Herbert H TALBOT [35] horseman on farm, born Stanton; his mother Eliza [28] born Stanton; Brothers Harry [8] born Stanton and Freddie [3] born Timworth; sister Rose [1] born Timworth.

1911 census...Aged 16, a farm labourer, he was at Ixworth Thorpe with his parents; brothers Harry and Frederick (both farm labourers) and Herbert [8] born Ixworth Thorpe; sisters Rosie, Hilda [5] and Elsie [3] both born in Ixworth Thorpe.

He enlisted in Bury St. Edmunds on 4th January 1916 in 3rd Suffolk Yeomanry No.2434, transferred to the Royal West Kent Regiment. He gave his age as 20 years 11 months, born in Timworth, a labourer 5 feet 8.5 inches(174 cm) tall, weighing 108 lbs (49.1 kg), chest 34" to 36"(86.4 to 91.4 cm). At Maresfield Camp in Sussex he received the punishment of 2 days confined to barracks on 2nd April for "wilful waste of bread".
He went via Folkestone-Boulogne on 27th August to join the 1st/4th Suffolks and was transferred to the 4th Res Battalion, Royal West Kents before being transferred on 7th September 1916 to the 7th Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment(his records do not show when he moved to the 11th Battalion).
On 3rd October 1916 he received a gun shot wound to the arm and via 13 General Hospital in Boulogne and H.S."St Patrick" was evacuated to UK. He returned to the B.E.F. on 11th February 1917 and was killed in action on 20th April.

His effects, sent to his mother in Ixworth Thorpe, consisted of ID disc, letters, photos, leather purse, cap badge, cigarette case and mirror case.
The "living relatives" form signed by his mother on 12 September 191 gave parents, brothers Harry [26], Fred [21], Herbert [16] and Charlie [7]; sisters Rose [19], Hilda [13] and Elsie [11], all living in Ixworth Thorpe.

The the absence of a rector in Ixworth Thorpe, the rector of Bardwell wrote on July 28th 1920, on his mother's behalf, enquiring as to an Army pension, as she had had no rely to her letter. The Army replied within two days denying nay knowledge of the original letter and advising his mother to contact the Local War Pension Committee for any pension for dependants.

The war diary says they were just south west of Sint Elooi (on the N365 Ypres-Armentieres road)-
Battalion in trenches. Day quiet until 7.30 pm when enemy opened an intense bombardment of our left front with heavy artillery and minenwerfers obliterating our front line, and portions of the Reserve and communications trenches, last for 1.5 hours. Enemy raiding party followed, and succeeded in entering the front line. Our troops prevented him reaching his objective- the mine shaft in the support line, by rifle and Lewis gun fire. The garrison of the crater in front of our line were missing. In addition we suffered the following casualties. 1 officer, 2nd Lt B W Rodney killed, other ranks, killed 4 wounded 13.

CWGC concurs with these figures.

The Bury Free Press of 2nd June 1917:-

Mr. and Mrs H.Talbot of Ixworth Thorpe, recently received notice that their second son, Prvt.W.R.Talbot, Royal West Kent Regiment, was killed in action on April 20th. Prvt Talbot enlisted in the Suffolk Yeomanry, and was training at Culford. He was sent out to France last August and then transferred to the Royal West Kent Regiment. He was wounded in the right arm and side last October and sent to hospital in Oxford. Having recovered he was again sent to France in February. A letter received by his parents from his Lieut. stated that death was painless. He was 22 years of age.

photo: Rodney Gibson

William Talbot is buried in Dickebusch New Military Cemetery, grave BB:3

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