ALLSOP, William Henry

No. 153871, Gunner, William Henry ALLSOP
Aged 32

Royal Garrison Artillery, 11th Siege Battery.
Died of his Wounds on Wednesday, 24th April 1918

William was born Lakenheath, registered Mildenhall Q4-1886 [4A:705]. He was the second son of Henry George ALLSOPP (1860-1950) a Lakeheath born farmer and Sarah Ann (née MORLEY) (1861-1925) who was born in Revesby, Lincolnshire.

1891 census...Aged 4, he was living at Sandpits, Lakenheath with his father, farmer Henry George ALLSOP [30], his mother, Sarah Ann [29] and brother Hilary Joseph ALLSOP[2] and sister Eleanor May [6 months]. All the children were born in Lakenheath.

1901 census...Aged 14, he was living at Back Street, Lakenheath with his father, mother, brother Joseph Hilary and sister Eleanor May. There were now 5 more siblings, all born in Lakenheath, sister- Minnie; sister- Maud [8]; sister- Martha [5]; brother- Leslie G [4] and sister- Nellie [2].

1911 census...Aged 24, single, a helper on farm, he was living in Back Street,Lakenheath with his father; mother; brother Joseph Hilary (help on farm); sister Martha (dairy worker); brother Leslie George; sister Nellie Blanche; sister- Hannah Newton [9] born Lakenheath; sister- Lily Esther [6] born Lakenheath. Sister Eleanor May had married Harry STUTELY [29] a farmer born Bradfield Combust who was there with their son, Leslie George STUTELY [1] born Lakenheath

He married Susanna Mary FLETCHER, registered Mildenhall Q2-1916 [4A:1829] who in 1923 married Victor R MORLEY in Cambridge. William and Susanna had a daughter, Mary Edith on 30th September 1917. His widow's address is given as High Street, nr Post Office, Lakenheath.

William Henry was a cousin of Robert William ALLSOP see here

The Siege Batteries were deployed behind the front line, tasked with destroying enemy artillery, supply routes, railways and stores. The batteries were equipped with heavy Howitzer guns firing large calibre 4, 6, 8 or 9.2 inch shells in a high trajectory.

The Germans commenced their last ditch attack, the Kaiserschlacht on 21st March 1918 and quickly over-ran the British lines. Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, issued an "Order of the Day" on 11 April stating, "With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight on to the end." Counter-attacks by British, French, American, and ANZAC forces slowed and stopped the German advance. Ludendorff ended Georgette (The Battle of the Lys) on 29 April.

Being an artillery man it is impossible to accurately record where William was injured. International Red Cross records show he he died in the German field hospital, of wounds to his eyes and was buried in Bohain Station Military Cemetery.After the war the British graves there were concentrated to Premont a short distance away. The German record did not have his forename or military detail on the one form available on line, but when moved the British identified him from the German cross and some papers in a bottle.

Sadly the following article appeared in the Bury Free Press on June 15th 1918, after William had actually died. There are conflicting accounts of his wounds:-

The news quickly spread last Saturday morning that one Lakenheath soldier, who had been report killed by four comrade, and also officially, was now alive and a prisoner of war in Germany. Mrs.Allsop, High Street, received a postcard in her husband's handwriting which read as follow:-
"My dear wife, Just a few lines to let you know that I am a prisoner of war and wounded,and am glad to say I am getting on as well as can be expected. Don't worry, as I am being well treated at present. Cannot give you any address at present. Hope this will find you quite well, I remain Your loving husband, Bill."
Mrs. Allsop had received four letters from her husband's comrades, one of whom wrote to say he aw him fall and went to him and was convinced he was killed. All were obliged to leave him,so he fell into German hands.An official notification received by Mrs. Allsop stated that he was killed in action on March 22nd. The postcard from Mrs. Allsop's husband was dated April 22nd. It may seem remarkable that Mrs.Allsop had cherished the hope that she should see her husband again, and last Friday she felt there would be news of him the next day and sure enough the postcard arrived. He is the eldest son of Mr.and Mrs. H.G.Allsop, the Bell Hotel, Lakenheath, and it is now hoped he will be spared to come home again and see his baby daughter, who has been born since he was last home.

The Bury Free Press of 8th March 1919 reported:-
Mrs. W.H.Allsop of High Street, Lakenheath would be grateful if any soldier could supply her with information concerning her husband, Gunner W.Allsop, 8416, Siege Battery, R.G.A. who was officially reported killed in action on March 22nd 1918............

© Commonwealth War Graves Commission

William ALLSOP is buried in Premont Cemetery near Bohain en Vermandois, grave 4:B:14

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