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William Murray Porritt was born in the third quarter of 1894. He was the son of Charles James Porritt, J.P., and Janet Alice Porritt, of “Green Lawn”, 14 Albert Road, Birkdale, Lancashire.

William first appeared in the London Gazette commissioning into the South Lancashire Regiment;



The undermentioned to be Second Lieutenants,
on probation: —

William Murray Porritt, 3rd Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment.

and reprinted;


3rd Battalion, The Prince of Wales’s Volunteers
(South Lancashire Regiment).

The undermentioned to be Second Lieutenants:-
W. M. Porritt (on probation). Dated 5th October, 1914.


Second Lieutenant Porritt sailed for France on 31st May 1915, being attached to the 1st Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment he joined them in the field in early June.

William Murray Porritt was killed in action during the opening day of the Battle of Loos. The Battalion War Diary reads;

25th September 1915

Morning of the attack. Lines are to be out by 04:30hrs. Original hours for gas to commence at 04:50hrs changed to 05:50hrs. Orders to leave trenches 06:29hrs changed to 06:34hrs. Gas no sooner commenced then wind changed and blew it back on us and the front line suffered badly.

Battalion advanced at 06:35hrs but owing to gas got mixed up and all four lines advanced together, also we got mixed up with the Kings Royal Rifle Corps on our right. We advanced up to the German wire, but found it uncut and returned back to the trenches.

Colonel Sanderson led out as many men as possible again but it was of no use, and he and the Adjutant, Captain Diver were wounded and also 2nd Lieutenant P Goldie, who was with them, was killed. Officer casualties 9 killed, 5 wounded, 2 missing. Captain Falkner and 2nd Lieutenant Livesey, Wharton and Healy all found killed right on the German wire. 2nd Lieutenant Wasbrough, Machine-gun officer took his two guns practically up to the German wire, he was killed. 2nd Lieutenant Gardner the other machine-gun officer went out on the left flank with his two guns. Nearly all his team was gassed and he carried a gun out himself with two men. He was gassed but came back to get ammunition and was told by the doctor to go down, but went and got more ammunition. After a small number of the Brigade had attempted to advance again, they stayed in the trenches.

Germans to our front surrendered to the 9th Kings when they had got half way to the trenches in the afternoon.

2nd Lieutenant N Collins, the senior officer left, assembled the Battalion which numbered three officers and 159 other ranks, and moved off south with the Brigade to ‘Chalk Pit’. 2nd Lieutenant Gardner came up later with a machine-gun although was still feeling bad.

Took up position for night along Lens – La Bassee Road, right on Puits 14, left on Chalk Pit. Pouring with rain. Captain N C Phillips joined up later and took command. He had been gassed in the morning and was also still fairly bad. Captain Nangle, the medical officer, was killed whilst attending a wounded man, a great loss to the Battalion.

Officer Casualties (25/09/1915)


Captain Arthur Newstead FALKNER

Temp Captain  Vernon William NEWMAN

Lieutenant H. G WOOD

2nd Lieutenant Paul GOLDIE

2nd Lieutenant HEALY

2nd Lieutenant Alan George Hilton LIVESEY

Lieutenant Frank Hammond WHARTON

2nd Lieutenant William Lewis WASBROUGH



Lieutenant (Temp) (?)

2nd Lieutenant Frederick Harrison MAYNARD

Lieutenant Sydney CLEMENTS

Lieutenant Colonel William Sengiloe SANDERSON

Captain (Temp) Cyril Roper Pollock DIVER

Wounded & Missing

2nd Lieutenant Richard HELME


2nd Lieutenant William Murray PORRITT

Other Ranks

Killed: 45

Wounded: 297

Gassed: 55

Missing: 92


As can be seen, Second Lieutenant William Murray Porritt was initially assessed as being missing, later to be confirmed as killed.

On Thursday 14th October 1915, The Liverpool Echo printed;


The ‘Times’ in its official casualty list today, includes the following, which has since been confirmed by the War Office –

Second Lieutenant William Murray Porritt, 3rd South Lancashire Regiment, attached 1st Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. He was the youngest son of Mr and Mrs Charles James Porritt of Hesketh Park Mansions, Southport, and was twenty-one years old. He was killed in France between September 25th and 30th.


Charles Jame Porritt took receipt of the 1914-15 star, British War Medal and Victory medal, in addition to the memorial plaque and scroll in recognition of his late-sons service.

William is remembered on the Loos memorial, France; and on the headstone of his parents in Rochdale Cemetery, Greater Manchester.

Rank: Second Lieutenant
Date of Death: 25/09/1915
Age: 21
Regiment: South Lancs, attached 1st Bn, The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment

Paul McCormick
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One Response to 2nd Lt. William Murray Porritt

  1. Michelle Porritt Dunn says:

    Very interesting William Murray Porritt is a distant ancestor my 5th cousin 4 times removed.

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