PALFREY, William

16837, Private, William PALFREY
Age 23

Suffolk Regiment, 2nd Battalion
Killed in Action on Wednesday 26th September 1917

Born in Lakenheath (Mildenhall Q2-1894 4A:755)

1901 census... Aged 7, he was living at Undley, Lakenheath with his father- John [43] farm labourer; mother- Kate (née FLACK) [40]; sister- Minnie [14]; brother John [11]; sister- Maude [3] and brother Joseph [11 months]. All were born in Lakenheath

1911 census...Aged 17, farm labourer, living at Undley Common, Lakenheath with his father, mother, brothers John Lewis and Joe, sister Minnie Maria and a nephew George [3].

He married Sarah A HOWARD [9-6-1893] in Q4-1915. Their son William David was born 26-1-1916. Sarah already had a daughter, Daisy Ellen HOWARD, born 13/10/1914. They lived in Undley Common.

Enlisted in Ely.
The 2nd Suffolks arrived in the Ypres salient and in the line on 25th September, preparing for the battle of Polygon Wood, due to start the following day. The ground, after three years of shelling, was scarcely traversable except by tracks well kown to the Germans.
On the 26th the 2nd Suffolks, as part of 5th Corp advanced towards Zonnebeke. Starting off at 5.30 am in a mist which hindered communications, on a front of 400 yards, they were in support of the 8th Kings Wwn with orders to pass through them on reaching the first objective. The assault was successful and the 2nd Suffolks captured Zonnebeke and despite a strong counter-attack which forced the line back on their left, managed to hold on. The 27th was quiet except for some sniping and enemy air activity. They lost 36 Killed on the 26th, many fewer than the 4th battalion on a different part of the salient. Only 9 of the 36 have identified grave.

The Bury Free Press of 20th October 1917 reported :-

The already long roll of honour for Lakenheath is again increased by the addition of the name of Prvt William Palfrey, Suffolk Regiment, who has fallen in battle. The news has been received by his wife, Mrs. Palfrey, the Common, Lakenheath, in a letter appended. Deceased was the second son of Mr. and Mrs. John Palfrey and leaves two children.. He was 23 years of age. He enlisted in November 1914 and after training was sent to France. In the famous great push of 1916 he was seriously wounded and sent to this country, and was in hospital some considerable time. Becoming convalescent he was sent home and assisted his father on the farm to get in the spring crops. On May 27th he was recalled to his regiment and again sent out to France. Sympathy is felt for the widow, parents and family. Appended is a copy of the letter:-
"Dear Mrs Palfrey - It is with the deepest regret that I write to offer you my sincere sympathy on the loss of your husband, who was killed in action on the 26th of last month.I have no doubt you have already heard from one of his Company officers how splendidly he behaved.His body was buried where he fell by his comrades near a valley of Zonnebeke,which our men captured. I pray God to help you to bear this heavy loss bravely, remembering he gave his life for a great cause- Yours faithfully, G.C.Dardens, Chaplain, 2nd Batt, Suffolk Regiment".

No Known Grave
William is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium..panels 40 & 41, 162 & 16A

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