Private 8885 William Grice

Grice William 96 422x600

Killed in Action on Tuesday, 4th September 1917, age 21.
Buried in Grave II. A. 8. at Menin Road South Military Cemetery, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

3rd Bn., Worcestershire Regiment. 7th Brigade of 25th Division.

Born: Great Bridge, Enlisted: West Bromwich, Resident: West Bromwich.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
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/96256/

Genealogical Data

It appears that William's father, Isaac Baker, and his mother, Mary Grice, did not marry. William recorded Isaac Baker as his father on his army papers, and the three, Isaac, Mary and William were living together at the time of the 1911 Census.

It has not been possible to identify WIlliam with 100% certainty on the 1901 census, but it is possible that he is resident at the Poor Law School in West Bromwich, although the age given would be wrong.

1901 Census
Poor Law School, Wigmore, West Bromwich, Staffs.
William Grice (3, born West Bromwich).

1911 Census
32 Smith Street, West Bromwich, Staffs.
Isaac Baker (52, Single, Loader in Jubilee Pit, born West Bromwich), Mary Grice (50, Boarder, born West Bromwich), and William Grice (15, Boarder, Nut and Bolt worker, born West Bromwich).

Personal Data

After William's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £21/10/2d (21 pounds, 10 shillings and 2 pence); this was paid to his co-legatees in January and February 1918. The co-legatees were his father, Isaac Baker, and his aunt, Sarah Birch, and both received £10/15/1d (10 pounds, 15 shillings and 1 penny). His War Gratuity was £13/0/0d (13 pounds exactly), this was paid to the same co-legatees in February 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that William had enlisted in December 1914.

Action resulting in his death

The 3rd Worcesters contribution to the 3rd Battle of Ypres began on 1st August 1917 when they moved up the Menin Road to the Bellewaerde Ridge, into trenches facing the Westhoek Ridge. For the next 4 days they held this line in extremely trying conditions, both from mud and rain, as well as German shells and gas. After relief on the 5th August, they returned to the same location on August 10th when they attacked and captured the Westhoek Ridge. They held the Ridge under counter-attack and artillery bombardment until relieved on 12th August, being transported to Steenvoorde to rest and re-fit. The 3rd Worcesters had almost 70 Other Ranks killed in that time.

The following quotation is from 'The Worcestershire Regiment in the Great War' by Captain H. FitzM. Stacke, M.C. "On August 30th came orders to move forward to the battle-front. The 7th Brigade (Editor: including the 3rd Worcesters) had now been lent to the 23rd Division which was holding the front along the Menin Road. The 3rd Worcesters were carried up to Ypres in lorries, and then the companies marched forward to reserve trenches around Halfway House. There they remained for six days. Many heavy shells struck near the position, but otherwise that period was uneventful."

Uneventful these 6 days may have been according to Stacke, but 6 Other Ranks from the 3rd Worcesters were killed in the period, most likely from shell-fire. Amongst these was William Grice who died of wounds on 4th September and was buried in Menin Road South Cemetery, about a mile along the Menin Road towards Ypres.

Newspaper Cuttings