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William Broad was born in the September quarter of 1891 at 17 George Street in Preston to John and Alice Broad (nee Bamber). His parents married in St. Paul`s Church in Preston on the 10th August 1879 and they went on to have twelve children, nine of whom survived; Mary Ann (1879), Alice (1881), Sophia (1883), John (1889), William (1891)*, James (1893), Thomas (1896), Ellen (1899) and George (1901).

By 1901 William and his family were living at 26 Edmund Street in Preston where William`s father was working as a cab driver and his mother as a cotton weaver. The family remained in Edmund Street for a number of years and they were still resident there in 1911. William`s four eldest siblings had married and left home by 1911 leaving William, James, Thomas, Ellen and George still living with their parents. John Broad was a blacksmith, William was a labourer at Attwater & Sons Hopwood Street Mill, James was a labourer, Thomas a mill worker and the youngest two Ellen and George were both still at school.

On the 11th April 1914 William married local girl Ellen Hodson in St. Paul`s Church and the couple also set up home in Edmund Street. Just a few months after they were married William enlisted on the 29th August 1914 at Preston. William declared that he had no previous military experience and that he had been previously working as a labourer and he named his wife Ellen of 30 Edmund Street as his next of kin. His medical inspection record notes that he was five feet three and three quarter inches tall and weighed 129lbs. He had a fresh complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. He was issued with the service number 12214 and posted to “A” Coy of the 7th Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.

On the 27th March 1915 he was appointed Lance Corporal (unpaid) and on the 12th July 1915 he was appointed Lance Corporal (paid).

In the early morning of the 16th July 1915 three Officers and 110 non-commissioned Officers and men left for Southampton with the transport, embarking at that port for Le Havre. William and the remainder of the Battalion did not leave Tidworth until the afternoon of the 17th, when it proceeded in two trains to Folkestone and from there crossed to Boulogne. The total strength of the Battalion was 30 Officers and 900 other ranks coming under the command of the 56th Brigade in the 19th (Western) Division.

The 7th Battalion took part in the Battle of the Somme and on the 20th July 1916 they marched from Henencourt Wood to Bazentin-le-Petit. It was here that they held an extended line of over 1000 yards in length. At 19:00hrs that night they managed to shoot down a German aeroplane with a Lewis gun, the plane bursting into flames just in front of their lines.

On the morning of the 23rd July 1916 the Battalion was ordered to attack the switch line with the intention of taking High Wood (there had been several attempts to take High Wood in the past week by other Divisions). Now it was the turn of the 19th Division (including the 7th Battalion LNL) and the 1st Division. It was during this days` action that sadly Lance Corporal William Broad was posted as missing.

William`s family later provided the following information and photograph for publication in the local paper the Preston Guardian.12214 Lance Corporal William Broad 1

A notebook and a photograph belonging to William were the only personal items returned to his widow Ellen in Preston. William`s body was recovered from the battlefield and he was laid to rest in Caterpillar Valley Cemetery in Longueval.

Photo by Janet Davis – July 2016

Photo by Janet Davis – July 2016

Ellen Broad received a pension of 10/- per week for herself with effect from the 19th March 1917, the couple did not have any children.

After the war Ellen took receipt of her husband`s 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals to which he was entitled.

William Broad`s name is also remembered on the Roll of Honour in the Harris Museum and Art Gallery in Preston.12214 Lance Corporal William Broad - harris museum RoH

Rank: Lance Corporal
Service No: 12214
Date of Death: 23/07/1916
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 7th Bn.

Janet Davis
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