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William Henry Hunter was christened at St. Thomas`s Church in Preston on the 25th May, 1898 the son of Thomas Alfred and Sarah Joan Hunter (nee Cartmell). William was Thomas and Sarah`s second child, their first born child named Thomas after his father was born in 1897 but he died the same year.

The couple only had two more children after William, a daughter Edith Alice (1902) and another son John Thomas (1904).

In 1911 Sarah and the three children were all living at 5 Crescent Street in Preston. Sarah was working in a mill as a cotton weaver and William, Edith and John were all attending school. At the time William`s father Thomas was living at Standish House in Chorley which was a lodging house. The Census notes ninety nine people were resident at Standish House in 1911 and they were from various parts of the country. All the lodgers had different occupations and Thomas`s job was working as a labourer for a bricklayer

The information provided in the newspaper clipping below states that William enlisted into the Army on the 8th June 1915. He was just seventeen years old at the time and he was allocated the original service number 4003 which would later become 201472.

The newspaper clipping also indicates that he went to France in `January last` so that would have been in January 1917. After arriving in France William was posted to the 1/5th Battalion.

The 1/5th Battalion at this time was in the Ypres Salient and in April 1917 when they were out of the line they were using billets at the town prison in Ypres.

According to the Battalion War Diary on the 22nd April 1917 the enemy shelled the prison between 10.30-11am causing nine casualties, sadly William Henry Hunter was one of them. He was just 19 years old.

Extract from the Battalion War Diary – 22nd April, 1917

Hunter -WH 1

William`s parents informed the Preston Guardian of the death of their son and not long afterwards the information was published in the paper.

Hunter -WH 2

William was buried with honour in Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery just outside Ypres. The bodies of Private Mitchell, Private Maden and William Henry Hunter lie side by side.

William`s mother had the following inscription placed at the foot of his grave;

“A loving son, a brother kind, a splendid memory left behind”

He was later awarded the British War and Victory Medals in recognition of his service for his country.

Rank: Private
Service No: 201472
Date of Death: 22/04/1917
Age: 19
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/5th Bn.
Cemetery: VLAMERTINGHE MILITARY CEMETERY

Janet Davis

Janet Davis

Janet Davis has been researching her family history for many years and through this she discovered many relatives who served in WW1. This interest then led Janet to do many walking the battlefield tours with her husband. In April 2013 she discovered this website and volunteered to help. Janet believes that there are lots of stories still to be told, most of them very sad but at the same time they are a fascinating insight into the men, their families, what they did and where they came from.
Janet Davis

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