My Great Grandfather William was born in Timsbury on 2nd March 1866. At the age of 19 he joined the 2nd Somersetshire Light Infantry. He served 12 years; nine of those were overseas in Burma and South Africa in the Boer War.
He married Mary Jane French on 13th May 1895 while stationed at Fort George on Guernsey. He was discharged the following year having completed his 12 year service and returned to civilian life as a Colliery labourer.
In 1914 at the age of 48 he was a family man with six children. He enlisted at Midsomer Norton as a Rifleman in the 22nd (Wessex & Welsh) 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade. Due to the shortage of some types of units they were filled by Territorial Reservists taken from other Divisions and so they were attached to the 228th Brigade in the 28th Division.
The units of the Division embarked at Southampton and landed at Le Havre on 16-19 January 1915 and then moved to concentrate in the area between Bailleul and Hazebrouck. The Division subsequently took part in these actions:
The Second Battle of Ypres
The Battle of Loos
The Division was ordered on 19 October 1915 to prepare to sail. The first units left Marseilles for Alexandria (Egypt) five days later and were there by 22nd November. The Division was then ordered on to Salonika part of the Balkans Theatre and completed its disembarkation on 4 January 1916.
2 October 1916: the occupation of Mazirko
31 October 1916: the capture of Barakli Jum'a
15 May 1917: the capture of Ferdie and Essex Trenches (near Barakli Jum'a)
16 October 1917: the capture of Barakli and Kumli
William died of dysentery on 27th June 1918 aged 52 and is buried in Salonika Military Cemetery, Greece.
At Rest, His Duty Done
This inscription was given to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission by his wife, to be written on his headstone.
This information was sent to us by Julie Bridges, the Great Grandaughter of William Bridges