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13887 Private William Yates “B” Coy 7th Battalion 1James Yates was born in Byron Street in Preston and was baptised in the Parish Church of St. John in Preston on the 23rd September 1883. His parents were William and Mary Ann Yates (nee Hall) and they married in All Saints Church in Higher Walton on the 7th August 1871. William was one of eight children born to the couple, four of whom survived, the other three being; Thomas (1881), Ann (1886) and Mary (1891).

By 1891 the family had moved to number 66 Senior Street in Preston where William`s parents both had jobs as weavers in a cotton mill. William and his brother and sister were all attending school. Thomas Pickering, a widower and who was `living off his own means` was also boarding with the family at the time. Ten years later the 1901 Census shows that William and his family had moved again, this time to 6 Plungington Road in Preston by which time William and his two siblings had joined their father working in a mill as cotton weavers.

Number 24 Kilshaw Street in Preston was the family`s home address in 1911 and the family now consisted of; William, his parents and his married sister Ann Blackburn and her two children, Nellie aged 5 and Colin aged 3. William and his father were both still employed as cotton weavers.

William enlisted on the 3rd September 1914 at Preston agreeing to serve for three years with the Colours. He was unmarried and confirmed that he had previously been working as a weaver at Messrs. John Livers` Brookfield Mill. He had some previous military experience stating that he had served with the old Lancashire Volunteers.  At his medical inspection the Medical Officer noted that William was 5`3” tall and weighed 130lbs. He was given the service number 13887 and posted to “B” Coy of the 7th (Service) Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.

The 7th Battalion remained at home in training for several months before finally in early July 1915 they received orders to prepare for mobilisation. William sailed to France with the main body of the Battalion on the 17th July 1915, the Battalion coming under the command of the 56th Brigade in the 19th (Western) Division.

In the weeks following their arrival in France the Battalion was given intensive training in all forms of trench warfare. Officers and men attended lectures on the employment of trench weapons and practical instruction was also given in the use of trench mortars and gas helmets.

After taking part in the Battle of Loos in the September of 1915 the 7th Battalion spent the month of October to the north of the Loos battle area, either up in forward positions between Richebourg l`Avoue and Festubert or in the rear in billets. Although this period may be described as fairly peaceful, casualties were by no means few in number.

Sadly, on the 22nd October 1915 while the Battalion was on duty in the trenches, William was killed by a sniper`s bullet.

After receiving official confirmation of their sons` death Mr. and Mrs. Yates posted the following information in the local paper.13887 Private William Yates “B” Coy 7th Battalion 2

There is no information in William`s papers to say whether any of his personal effects were ever returned to his family in Preston.

After his death William was buried in Le Touret Military Cemetery, Richebourg-L`Avoue.13887 Private William Yates “B” Coy 7th Battalion cwgc

Following the death of his parents, William`s brother Thomas Yates became his next of kin for official purposes.

After the war Thomas Yates took receipt of his brother`s 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals that had been issued in recognition of William`s service and sacrifice for his country.

Rank: Private
Service No: 13887
Date of Death: 22/10/1915
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 7th Bn.

Janet Davis
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