Lance Corporal 16337 William Black

Black William 96 444x600Black William 96 400x600

Killed in Action on Wednesday, 22nd March 1916, age 21.
Buried in Grave III. E. 17. at Le Touret Military Cemetery, Richebourg-L'Avoue, Pas De Calais, France.

18th Bn., Lancashire Fusiliers. 104th Brigade of 35th Division.

Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Darlaston, Resident: Walsall.

First landed France & Flanders, 29th January 1916.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/261479/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
28 Cleton Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Joseph Black (36, General Labourer, born Tipton), his wife Elizabeth (33, born Coseley), and their 7 children: Alice (11, born Tipton), Amy (8, born Tipton), William (6, born Tipton), Joseph (5, born Tipton), Nellie (3, born Tipton), Alfred (2, born Rowley), and Sarah (1, born Tipton).

1911 Census
247 Darlaston Road, Pleck, Walsall, Staffs.
Joseph Black (47, Brick Carter, born Tipton), his wife Elizabeth (42, born Coseley), and their 10 surviving children of 11: Alice (21, Bolt Screwer, born Tipton), Amy (18, Warehouse Girl, born Tipton), William (16, Bolt Heater, born Tipton), Joseph (15, Sorter in Bolt Works, born Tipton), Nellie (13, School, born Tipton), Alfred (12, School, born Rowley), Sarah (11, School, born Tipton), Eva (6, School, born Darlaston), Ethel (2, born Walsall), and Hilda (1 month, born Walsall).

Personal Data

William is the brother of Joseph Black, they are in the same Battalion and with adjacent Army Numbers. Their names are commemorated on the walls of Walsall Town Hall.

The 18th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers was initially a Bantam Battalion for men less than the 5' 3'' required for other infantry Battalions. By the end of 1916 the quality of Bantam replacements became sub-standard; in common with the other Bantam Battalions, replacements from then on were average conscripts. As William Black died in 1916, it can be assumed that he was a Bantam by height.

Action resulting in his death

The 18th Lancashire Fusiliers landed in France in January 1916. Their first experience of front line trench life was between Laventie and Festubert in French Flanders, which they took over on 7th March. William Black was killed in action just 2 weeks later on the 22nd March, just the third man from his Battalion to be killed in France (the first was Wednesbury man Thomas Barnett killed on the 11th March).

A report in the Walsall Observer says that William was "accidentally shot through the head" without giving further detail of the incident. William is buried in Le Touret Military Cemetery at Richebourg-L'Avoue, his brother in attendance at the burial.

Newspaper Cuttings

Walsall Observer 15th April 1916
Pleck Soldier's Death. Accidentally shot after bombing scheme.
Enlisting together in the Lancashire Fusiliers, two Pleck brothers Lance-Corporal William Black and Signaller Joseph Black, whose parents live at 7 Narrow Lane, both went to the front together on January 29 last. Unfortunately their companionship was broken after about 9 weeks on active service, for the elder, William, lost his life whilst in the trenches on March 23rd. In a letter to the bereaved parents, an officer of his company explains that Lance-Corporal Black was accidentally shot through the head at 6 o'clock at night. "He was one of my best non-commissioned officers and I had already put his name down for promotion. He had charge of the bombers and only on the afternoon before he met his death I had planned with him a bombing scheme. It may be some little consolation for you to know that he died almost immediately and suffered no pain."
The deceased soldier was laid to rest in a British cemetery and the funeral was attended by his brother from whom a letter home mentions that "Everything was done for him before he died, but he had gone too far. The stretcher bearers gave him every courage to cheer him up." The deceased soldier was 21 years of age and unmarried. Prior to the war both he and his brother were in the employ of Messrs Cotterell of Darlarston.

Black Brothers Walsall Town Hall
Brothers Joseph and William Black, commemorated in Walsall Town Hall