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William Tattersall was christened at St. Andrew`s Church, Leyland on 23 June, 1895 the son of James and Mary Maria Tattersall (nee Hart).

James and Mary were married in St. Andrew`s Church on 5 April, 1890. Before William was born the couple had already had two other sons. The first was William born in 1891 and the second William Henry who was born in 1893 but sadly both of them of them died in 1893.

In 1901 six year old William was living with his Grandmother Alice Tattersall and three unmarried Aunts, Ann, Margaret and Alice Tattersall at 5 Slater Lane in Leyland. William`s parents were living in Dunkirk Lane, Leyland and they were both working. James Tattersall was a labourer at a cotton bleach works and William`s mother was a cotton weaver.

By 1911 James and Mary had another three children, a daughter Lena was born in 1904 and she was followed by two more sons Henry in 1907 and Norman in 1911. The 1911 census shows the family living together in a six roomed house named Atherton Villa which was in Dunkirk Lane, Leyland. William was working as a weaver while his father was a bleacher warehouseman.

On the 18 April, 1912 at the age of 17 years and 11 months William went to enlist in the Territorial Force. He had his medical inspection in Leyland and was recorded as being 5`8” tall with a 35” chest.
The Medical Officer noted that he had good vision and was in good shape physically. William was allocated the number 776 and posted to the 4th Battalion. He did his annual training at Kirkham in August 1912 and then Denbigh in August 1913.

William sailed from England with the 1/4th Battalion on 4 May, 1915. On the 12 May, 1915 the 1/4th Battalion became part of the 154th Brigade in the 51st (Highland) Division.

William would have taken part in and survived the great bayonet charge at Festubert on the 15 June, 1915, a battle in which so many of his pals were either killed or injured.

William must have been doing well and impressing his superiors because on the 1 September, 1915 he was appointed Lance Corporal.

At the beginning of 1916 the 1/4th left the 51st Division and transferred to 164th Brigade in 55th (West Lancashire) Division.

Sadly on 1 April, 1916 William was killed when a shell burst in a barn where he was billeted.

Battalion account February – April 1916
“On the 15th February the Brigade marched from HEM via DOULLENS to HALLOY and on to BELLEVUE, where units broke off to their respective villages, the 1/4th continuing the march via BAVINCOURT and GOUY-EN-ARTOIS to MONCHIET. Three night’s afterwards hostile aircraft flew over the village and dropped two bombs not far from our lines. There were no casualties.

Shortly before noon the following day an enemy plane again flew over the village, dropping a bomb about 150 yards from the huts, once more without effecting any damage. On the 23rd (Feb) orders were received for the Battalion to go into the trenches to take over from the 1/5th Kings Liverpool Regiment. There was a heavy fall of snow that afternoon, followed by a frost at night, and we moved into the line the following night. The enemy was very quiet on this front and apt to show himself a good deal.

Lieutenant Hindle took over the command the day following the Battalion`s arrival. About this time the trenches became very wet owing to the thaw, and the discomforts familiar at these times recurred. Meanwhile the enemy indulged in rather more sniping than usual, while a visit by a dozen hostile aeroplanes one morning was accompanied by activity on the part of his artillery. There were no casualties or cases of sickness during the month – a record.

March was also quite uneventful. A German deserter surrendered to us, and there was only a single casualty during the month, one man being wounded.

But on April 1st, while A, B and C Companies were billeted at BRETENCOURT, the enemy fired about three salvoes to the west of the village, and one shell burst in a barn occupied by No. 15 Platoon (D Company), killed six men and wounded eight others”.

The other five men who died with William were; Privates Percy Catterall, Edward Monks, William Rutter and John Southworth who were all from Chorley and one soldier from Preston Corporal John Fletcher.

The following notice was posted in the Preston Guardian not long after William died.


Whether any of William`s personal effects were returned to his family in Leyland is unknown. He was awarded the 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals.

William and his five comrades were buried alongside each other in the Douchy-Les-Ayette British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.


Photo taken on 16th October 2014

His name is also remembered on the War Memorial in Leyland.


Leyland War Memorial

Rank: Lance Corporal
Service No: 776
Date of Death: 01/04/1916
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/4th Bn.

Janet Davis
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One Response to 776 LCPL. W. TATTERSALL. L.N.LAN.R

  1. Lawrence Yates says:

    William Rutter who was killed at Betancourt and buried at Douchy les Ayette was my great uncle.

    I have visited his grave every year for the last few years. A french friend lives close by and also visits the grave.

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