Private 15599 William Garner

Garner William 96 397x600

Killed in Action on Tuesday, 15th February 1916, age unknown.
Commemorated on Panel 35 and 37 of Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

8th Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 51st Brigade of 17th Division.

of The Cottage, Leabrook Road, Ocker Hill, Tipton, Staffs. (per TH)
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Darlaston, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 14th July 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library, and St. Mark's memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/930482/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
Gospel Oak Villas, Gospel Oak Road, Tipton, Staffs.
John Garner (41, Puddler, born West Bromwich), his wife Sarah Jane (39, born Tipton), and their 6 children: Alice (16, born Tipton), Alex H. (15, Screwer in Ironworks, born Coseley), Thomas (11, born Coseley), John James (8, born Coseley), William (6, born Tipton), and Frederick (4, born Tipton).

1911 Census
Gospel Oak Villas, Gospel Oak Road, Tipton, Staffs.
John Garner (51, Puddler, born Pensnett), his wife Sarah Jane (49, born Tipton), and 5 of their 6 surviving children of 8: Alexander (25, Tube Screwer, born Sedgley), Thomas (21,Tube Labourer, born Sedgley), John James (18, Tube Screwer, born Sedgley), William (16, Plumber's Labourer, born Tipton), and Frederick (14, Labourer, born Tipton).

Personal Data

None Available.

Action resulting in his death

The 8th Battalion South Staffs was in 51st Brigade of 17th (Northern) Division. In early February 1916, the 17th Division returned from a rest and training period near St. Omer, to the front near St. Eloi, along the line south of the Ypres-Comines canal and railway. It included some captured ground on the north bank of the canal called The Bluff. The ground was higher as the material from the excavation of the canal had been built up. The Germans, however, were still on the crest.

The area had been relatively quiet but the Germans now became very active. In the afternoon of February 14th German infantry successfully attacked the British units holding The Bluff after a very heavy bombardment with shells and trench mortars, and the blowing of some mines. On the afternoon of the 14th, 51st Brigade held the left front north of the canal including the left defences of The Bluff. Half its men were always in the trenches and the other half were held in reserve, The 8th South Staffs were on the left in the trenches with the 10th Sherwood Foresters on their right.

More detail from the War Diary follows, but in summary: the Germans captured The Bluff and held it against unsuccessful British counter-attacks until a better planned raid on 1st/2nd March recaptured The Bluff. "Soldiers Died in the Great War" shows 31 men of the 8th South Staffs killed on 14th/15th February, including William Garner. Like most of the 31, William has no known grave and is commemorated on the Menin Gate, Ypres.

War Diary 8th South Staffs
13th February
Quiet night. Enemy bombarded from 9.00 a.m. with high explosive, shrapnel, whizz bangs and trench mortars.
Casualties:- 2 killed, 2 wounded.

14th February
Bombardment by the enemy increased all day.
6.00 pm. 2 mines exploded by enemy. All communication to Companies gone.
6.15 pm. Enemy advancing against 'B' Company. 'A' Company has very severe casualties. Lt Porter reported killed.
7.15 pm. The Commanding Officer returns wounded.
7.30 pm. A slight lull, wounded evacuated.
8-11 pm. Enemy consolidating. Reported to have taken from right half of Trench 33 to trench 29 inclusive, including The Bluff.
11.45 pm. Intense enemy bombardment.

February 15th
00.15 am. Heavy machine gun fire and rifle fire opened on our trenches.
00.35 am. Two orderlies despatched to firing line for news.
08.25 am. Estimated casualties 6 officers and 112 other ranks. Rest of the day very quiet. That evening British bombardment and counter-attack.

Newspaper Cuttings

Birmingham Daily Gazette October 12th 1916
We invite readers to help us in our search for news of the missing soldiers whose photographs are reproduced above.
This is a purely voluntary work, cheerfully undertaken on behalf of readers of this paper, and we confidently ask for the help of other readers of the paper who have relatives and friends in the same regiments as the missing soldiers.
If the "Gazette" gets into the hands of men in the same regiment, either at the front or in hospitals, news may be forthcoming which may allay anxiety, or at least be some comfort to sorrowing homes.
(1) Private William Garner (15599), S. Staffs., missing since 14 February. News wanted by his mother, Mrs. S.J. Garner, 28. The Cottage, Leabrook Road, Ocker Hill, Tipton.

Birmingham Daily Gazette February 16th 1917
GARNER.- Private William Garner (15599), South Staffs Regt., The Cottage, Leabrook Road, Ocker Hill, Tipton, Staffs, died for King and country 15th February 1916. Ever remembered by mother, father, sister and brothers. Gone but not forgotten.

Tipton Herald February 24th 1917
Private William Garner, South Staffordshire Regiment, The Cottage, Leabrook Road, Ocker Hill, Tipton, Staffs, officially reported killed in action on 15th February 1916.