RAWLINGS, William John

No.24613, Private, William RAWLINGS
Aged 26

2nd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Wednesday, 16th August 1916

William John Rawlings was born on 10th April 1890 in West Wratting (Linton Q3-1897 3B:492) baptised on 5th October 1890 in West Wratting, son of Albert Edward and Annie RAWLINGS (née WELCH).

1891 census...Aged 1, he was at Padlock End, West Wratting with his father Albert E RAWLINGS [27] farmer and harness maker; his mother Annie [27] born in Cambridge; brother Albert E [2]. All except his mother were born in West Wratting.

1901 census...Aged 10, he was at High Street, West Wratting with his parents (father now saddler and harness maker); brothers Albert Edward and Reginald Harry [9] and Neville Page [6]: sister Grace Helena [8]. The new siblings born in West Wratting.

1911 census...Aged 20, a baker, he was at West Wratting with his parents; sister Grace; brothers Albert (saddler/harnessmaker), Reginald (baker) and Neville (coal porter).

He married Emily BYSOUTH [14-3-1879] from Barkway, Herts in 1916. She halready had a daugher, Dorothy Elizabeth BYSOUTH {12-9-1912]

He enlisted in Newmarket.
War diary:- August 16th
Trenches of 1st and 2nd line and C/T as far as MALTZ HORN FARM greatly improved making communication laterally and from front to rear impossible (??)
Order for attack, which had bee received verbally from G.O.C. 76th Infantry Brigade, and pointed out by him personally from 1st line trench, were discussed with O.C. 8th KORL, objective and dividing line decide don. HQ moved to junction of ASSEMBLY TRENCH and COCHANE ALLEY.
Visit OC 418th Regiment, French Army who gave plan of attack and operation orders. OC No 2 Battalion, 418th Regiment sent interpreter to whom our plan of attack was explained and liaison arranged during action.
Company Commanders shown objective and dividing lines. The Battalion was disposed for attack as follows:-
1st line "Z" and "Y" Coys with two platoons each in front line, followed by two platoons at 50 yards distance as support. Frontage 180 yards per company. Direction points shown on the ground.
2nd line..."X" Coy in 2 lines.
Reserve...."W" Coy who moved from DUNCAN ALLEY to EDWARD TRENCH.
3 squads of bombers to rush German Block in extension of COCHRANE ALLEY. 2 squads to move with supports of first line as clearing parties.
Snipers detailed to snipe at M.Guns located in French Ravine about 62c.B.1.c.5.5. [see below].
Green flares were not issued as ordered owing to man carrying them being killed and flares lost. A second consignment was obtained but arrived 15 minutes too late.
Lewis Guns of companies were on flank of supporting line. At Zero hour the whole Battalion moved forward across the open, except Reserve Company which came along C/T. The barrage was closely followed. The left Coy "Z" got forward about 120 yards but met with machine gun fire from its left and lost all its officers and platoon commanders and the remainder of the company remained in the shell holes until dark when they fell back to SHUTE TRENCH. Their casualties were 3 officers 90 other ranks.
The right company met with machine gun fire from about B.1.central and from B.1.c.5.5. and reached first objective with groups of men in shell holes.
1 platoon of "X" Coy and 1 platoon of "W" Coy were sent to connect with French down COCHRANE ALLEY. Touch was maintained here and a trench dug to the French left.
The remainder of 'Y' Coy after dark fell back to extension of COCHRANE ALLEY which was consolidated as a fire trench.
'Y' Coy casualties 1 officer and 85 other ranks. Actual gain of ground affected was 250 yards of COCHRANE ALLEY,capture of 6 German 124th Regt including one officer (?)

CWGC records show 40 men killed, just 7 with known graves.

William Rawlings is commemorated on the Thiepval memorial, pier and face 1C/2A

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

BACK to West Wratting home page