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William Colley was born in Radcliffe, Lancashire in about 1900. He was the youngest child of George and Sarah Colley of 39 Seed Street, Radcliffe. William had two older brothers and four older sisters; Clara (b. c1887), Arthur (b.c1889), George (b. c1891), Sarah (b. c1892), Elizabeth (b. c1895) and Eleanore (b.c1898).

When War broke out William was too young to fight overseas, as such he joined the Training Reserve Battalion with the number 41756.

He joined the 9th (Service) Battalion and entered France sometime after January 1916 (probably in late 1917 or early 1918 when he had turned eighteen). His new number was 41906.

On 27th May 1918 Private William Colley was killed in action.

Extracts from The Battalion War Diary

24th May 1918
Arrived at Vandeuil, early hours of morning

25th May 1918- Vandeuil
COs inspection of Battalion

26th May 1918 – Vandeuil
Church parade. Orders for move.
1915hrs: Received orders to prepare to move at once.
2300hrs: Marched to Muscourt. During latter part of journey, box respirators were worn owing to gas shelling by enemy.

27th May 1918 – Muscourt
Arrived at Muscourt at about 0400hrs.
0900hrs: 1 Platoon per Company ordered to proceed to a line along Canal Bank, N.E of MAIZY, to form a nucleus of defence for that place.
1200hrs: Remainder of Battalion ordered to reinforce at once, line areas taken up.

Total going into action: 12 Officers, 496 Other Ranks

28th May 1918 – Canal Bank
5 Officers and 72 Other Ranks reported to the transport lines in small parties during the day (remnants of Battalion).

Private William Colley was buried in Chambrecy British Cemetery on the Marne.

In recognition of William’s War service his next of kin received the British War Medal and Victory Medal, and Memorial Plaque and Scroll.

Rank: Private
Service No: 41906
Date of Death: 27/05/1918
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 9th Bn.

Unfortunately his service papers appear not to have survived.

Paul McCormick
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2 Responses to 41906 PTE. W. COLLEY. L.N.LAN.R

  1. Mark Thomas says:

    Just researching my grandfathers experiences and his number was very close to Pte Colley, he was captured during the battle at the Maizy canal whilst Colley was killed. We are going there next week to look over the ground, will be thinking of them both.

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