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William Bagot was the younger of two sons born to George and Elizabeth Ann Bagot (nee Birch). George Bagot was born in Kirkham and Elizabeth was originally from Accrington but at the time of their marriage she was living a couple of miles away from Kirkham in nearby Weeton with Preese. The couple were married in the church of St. Michael`s in Weeton on the 28 March, 1892.

After George and Elizabeth married they moved to Preston to live at 298 Watling Street Road and this is where their two sons John (1893) and William (1895)* were born.

Prior to his marriage to Elizabeth George Bagot had been working as a joiner but by 1901 he had opened a butchers shop in Watling Street Road where the family were living. His father was also a butcher in Kirkham so George had obviously acquired the necessary skills from him. The 1901 Census also shows the family had two boarders, William Brewer an electricians apprentice and Jane E Gibson a schoolmistress.

In 1911 the family address is shown as 75 Watling Street Road and William was now an assistant butcher working with his father George. His brother John was employed as an assistant tobacconist.

A local trade directory compiled in 1913 lists William`s mother as having “dining rooms” at 3 Liverpool Street in the centre of Preston. There is no listing for the family butchers on Watling Street Road so it may be that his father George retired and the family had opened a café of some sort.

On the 7 September, 1914 at the age of 19 years and 8 months William enlisted for 3 years’ service with the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. He was allocated the number 13181 and posted to “D” Company of the 7th Battalion (known as the Preston Pals). His address at the time of enlistment is given as 3 Liverpool Street in Preston.

At his medical inspection the Medical Officer noted William as having blue eyes, dark brown hair and a fresh complexion. He was five feet three and a quarter inches tall and weighed 128lbs. He had a 37” chest and was described as being in excellent physical condition.

William left Preston with the Battalion when they went to Tidworth to undergo their initial military training. A number of letters written by some of the men after they arrived in Tidworth started to appear in the local papers, one such letter was addressed to the Theatre Hotel on Fishergate in Preston by one of the recruits who appears to have been a regular in that particular establishment;

“Just a week ago today since I left Preston, buy by gad, it seems a month. Only had one pint of beer since I left till last night, and then I walked five miles to a little village called Ludgershall and had to scrap to get some beer.

We have got a lot of decent fellows in our tent, twelve of us, five from Dick Kerr`s, two off the railway and one from the County Offices and the rest various.

We are having a grand time, but oh! what a change from home. We have lovely beds……on a blanket and your coat for a pillow up to yesterday, and then they gave us a pillow slip and a kind of long sack, and then we had to fill them up with straw, but I slept like a top.

Up in the morning is the game here, 5am, Sunday included, but no Matthew Brown`s at night. It would be worth a drinks round if I could only have my stool for about an hour or two.

But we have done it, and I suppose we shall have to stick it. One of the Pals sloped last Tuesday. I suppose the supper upset him, as he hasn`t been seen since, left his bag, coat, and even his hat and his whereabouts are unknown.

Cyril (Mr. Cyril Cartmell) arrived here on Saturday last, and he is living in clover like the rest of us. Dry bread and jam for breakfast and same for tea, varied with a bit of cheese, supplemented sometimes with a few delicacies which we buy ourselves.

We had a payday on Friday last, and drew the magnificent sum of 4s, just enough for a night`s booze, but there are no boozers in our tent. We can`t get it only at the canteen, and it`s awful, a pint is enough, two would just about kill you.

We haven`t got our uniforms yet, but when we do first stop a photographers, if we can find one. Tidworth itself is a one-eyed place. I have only seen two shops and there is one pub….they close at 8pm because there is no more beer. We are drilling practically all day from 6am to 5pm, and one is ready for bed after that”.

“Pals Company on the March” – this photograph appeared in the Preston Guardian on the 21 November 1914.


On the 17 July, 1915 the 7th Battalion boarded two trains at Tidworth bound for Folkestone and from there sailed to Boulogne.

William was appointed Lance Corporal (unpaid) on the 19 October 1915. In April 1916 he received an accidental bayonet wound to his thigh which was serious enough to keep him out of action for almost two weeks.

On the 25 July, 1916 he was appointed Lance Corporal (paid) when the Battalion were involved in actions during the Battle of the Somme and just two days later he was further promoted to Corporal.

By the end of 1916 William had managed to get some home leave from 27 December, 1916, returning to the front on the 6 January, 1917.

William was further promoted to Lance Sergeant (paid) on the 2 June, 1917. Just two months later on the 2nd August 1917 he was wounded in action having received gun-shot wounds to his chest and abdomen probably as a result of machine gun fire. At the time the 7th Battalion were involved in the 3rd Battles of Ypres (Passchendaele).

He was removed to number 53 Casualty Clearing Station where sadly he died of his wounds the same day.

William`s parents informed the Preston Guardian of their son`s death and the following article was published later.


A few of William`s personal belongings were returned to his parents back in Preston, these included;
• Letters and photographs
• 1 Pipe
• 1 Purse
• 1 Cigarette case and matchbox holder
• 1 Wallet
• 1 Bag

Mr and Mrs Bagot later took receipt of his 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals that their son was entitled to.

William was buried in Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord, France. His parents requested the following words be placed at the foot of his gravestone;

Paul McCormick
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