SHARPE, William

No.152674, Private, William SHARPE
Aged 21

16th Battalion, Canadian Infantry
Manitoba Regiment
Killed in Action on 25th-28th September 1916

William Sharpe was born in Saxon Street (Newmarket Q3-1894 3B:483), son of Edgar and Alice Melinda SHARPE(née NUNN).
The only registration relevant is Q3-1894, so it seems that 21st August 1895 on his Canadian documents is in error.

1901 census...Aged 6, he was in Saxon Street with his father Edgar SHARPE [38] a farm labourer born Bury St Edmunds; his mother Alice Melinda [35] born Hargrave, sisters Rosie [12] born in Hargrave and Jessie Rose [8] born in Ousden, brother Edward [4] and sister Alice [2] born in Woodditton ( more accurately Saxon Street)

1911 census... Aged 16, a farm labourer, he was at 58 Saxon Street with his parents, brother Edward (labourer), sister Alice and new siblings, Ruth Helen [9], George Kilburn [7] Winifred May [5] and Thomas [2]. All the children are recorded as born in Saxon Street.

He is very likely the William Sharpe, who sailed on the SS "Tunisian" from Liverpool to Halifax, Canada on 16th February 1912.

He has an entry in "Our Exning Heroes" but the connection with Exning is not known, other than that he may have worshipped at St Philip and St Etheldreda's Church in St Philips' Road, Newmarket, which is often classified as Exning.

Sharpe, Walter James. 'Born in 1894 at Woodditton, and educated at the village school. He was on Cheveley Estate for some years, and then went to Canada and worked on a farm. When war broke out he at once joined up in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, and was sent to France in 1916. In the autumn of that year he took part in the battle of the Somme and was killed by a rifle bullet'

On 5th August 1915 he attested for the 79th Overseas Battalion of the Canadian Infantry at Brandon, Manitoba. He was 5' 6" (167.6 cm) tall, chest 33.5" to 37"(85.1 to 94 cm)
Canadian Archives :-RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 8809 - 32 Item Number: 223589.
His mother's address at 67 Saxon Street has been deleted and replaced with 51 Stamford Terrace, Exning Road, Newmarket. His medals were sent to this address. His will left everything to his sister Winnie.

He embarked on R.M.S. Lapland on 24/4/1916. arriving in England on 4th May 1916, transferred from 79th Bn to 16th in France on 26/6/1916.
He was killed in the Battle of the Somme. His "circumstances of death" card held by the Canadian Archives records he was killed in action in trenches near Courcelette being previously posted as missing on 25th September 1916, body not recovered for burial.

The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, part of the battle of the Somme, started September 15th 1916. The Canadian Corps assaulted on a two-kilometre front near the village of Courcelette. Advancing behind a creeping barrage, by 8:00 a.m. the main objective, a defence bastion known as the Sugar Factory, was taken, and the Canadians pushed ahead to Courcelette. Numerous German counter-attacks were successfully held and by the next day the position was consolidated. In the weeks that followed, the three Canadian divisions again and again attacked a series of German entrenchments. The final Canadian objective was the "ditch of evil memory," Regina Trench. Repeatedly they failed to take it until November. Then the first autumn rains turned the battlefield into a bog and the offensive staggered to a halt. The line had been moved forward only ten kilometres. The Somme had cost Canada 24,029 casualties.

William Sharpe is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial, France ..the names are in alphabetical order, 11,169 of them

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