Private 23897 William Corfield

Killed in Action on Tuesday, 9th October 1917, age unknown.
Commemorated on Panel 88 to 90 and 162 of Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

2nd Bn., Hampshire Regiment. 88th Brigade of 29th Division.
Formerly 12278 Royal Berkshire Regiment.

Born: Great Bridge, Enlisted: Smethwick, Resident: Birmingham.

First landed France & Flanders, 25th July 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, 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/841361/

Genealogical Data

Initially I believed the following genealogy to be most likley for WIlliam Corfield, I now doubt it is correct. Howard Newey Corfield was killed in 1918, a newspaper article after his death (see Howard Corfield web-page) says that Howard had 2 brothers discharged from the army, which would suggest that Harry and William were still alive in 1918, and living in Church Lane, Tipton.

Unfortunately, I cannot find an alternative for William.

1901 Census
127 Bridge Road, Tipton, Staffs.
Samuel Corfield (37, Coal Miner - Hewer, born Tipton), his wife Sarah (39, born Tipton), and their 4 children: Hannah (17, born Tipton), William (14, Helper in Boiler Yard, born Tipton), Howard (11, born Tipton), and Harry (6, born Tipton).

1911 Census
27 Bridge Road, Tipton, Staffs. (White Horse Inn).
Boarding with Elizabeth Morgan (70, Widow, Tenant of Beerhouse, born Oswestry), was:
William Corfield (24, Boarder, Plater's Helper in Boiler Yard, born Tipton).

The only certainty about WIlliam Corfield is that he was married as his widow, Selina Corfield, received his payments after his death.
Marriage of William Corfield and Selina Lavender registered September quarter 1917 in Kings Norton - just a few months before his death.

Personal Data

After William's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £7/3/7d (7 pounds, 3 shillings and 7 pence); this was paid to his widow, Selina, in March 1918. His War Gratuity was £14/0/0d (14 pounds exactly), this was also paid to Selina in November 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that William had enlisted in September 1914.

Action resulting in his death

In the summer of 1917 the 2nd Hampshires (2/Hants) arrived in Belgium for their part in the Third Battle Ypres. This followed their involvement in the Battle of Arras in April 1917. 

Allied successes during the Battle of Ypres in September 1917 at the Battles of Menin Road and Polygon Wood and at the Battle of Broodseinde on 4th October, gave hopes of a breakthrough. However, after Broodseinde heavy rain made the battlefield a quagmire which favoured the defenders.

For the Battle of Poelcapelle, the 2/Hants were the third wave behind the 4th Worcesters and Newfoundland Regiment. They attacked from north of Langemarck (near today’s German Cemetery) heading north-west along the north bank of the Broombeck, roughly along the line of the Langemarck-Staden railway.

The attack successfully secured the Namur Railway Crossing and then their second objective before being held up in front of the third. After dark the Hampshires relieved the Newfoundland Regiment in what was now the front line astride the Poelcapelle-Les Cinq Chemins road.

During the day (9th October), the 2/Hants had 22 men killed. This include Private William Corfield, he has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.

Newspaper Cuttings