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William Healey born into a Roman Catholic family in Wigan in October 1876.

He was recalled to the Army as a Special Reservist on 2nd September 1914 at Hindley. He stated he had previously served in the Lancashire Fusiliers although no record of that could be found – there is however a record for the same name, same birth details having served in the 3rd Battalion of the South Lancashire Regiment from August 1895, number 4472.

He now joined the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment with the number 3918. At the time of his re-enlistment he was single, 37 years 325 days old, living under his parent’s roof and had been working as a collier.

The medical officer conducting his entry examination described William as being 5ft 5.5in, weighing 106lbs with a 36in chest – it was remarked that his physical condition was ‘poor at present, he wants feeding’. William had blue eyes and dark brown hair (also same as 1895 enlistment) and nominated his father William, sister Margret Leyland and brother Edward as his next of kin.

Initially posted into the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion LNL he traveled to Felixstowe to join his fellow Special Reservists. On 4th October he was absent from the 7AM parade and was found drunk in his billets at 11AM – for this misdemeanor he was confined to barracks for 10 days,

William was then transferred to the 1st Battalion for service overseas, joining them in France on 29th November 1914. William only spent a fortnight in France due to suffering with chronic bronchitis. He was back in the UK by 12th December that year where he was a patient of the 2nd London Hospital, Chelsea.

On 21st March 1915, whilst on leave and at 56 Silver Street, Wigan, William Healey died of endocarditis and was buried in a public grave at Wigan Cemetery. He was 42 years old.

The CWGC later erected him a headstone bearing the inscription;



Photo courtesy of John Barton – Nov 2015

William’s father received his late-son’s 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Allied Victory Medal. They would also receive a memorial plaque and scroll bearing his name in recognition of his sacrifice.

Rank: Private
Service No: 3918
Date of Death: 21/03/1915
Age: 42
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, Depot

* SDGW have incorrectly listed his date of death as 03/09/1918

Paul McCormick
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