Rifleman S/1918 William Griffiths

Griffiths William 1918 96 436x600

Killed in Action on Thursday, 23rd March 1916, age 21.
Buried in Grave II. E. 13. at Essex Farm Cemetery, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

'C' Company of 11th Bn., Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort's Own). 59th Brigade of 20th Division.

Son of Humphrey and Pricilla Griffiths, of 12, Brades Rd. Brades Village, Oldbury, Birmingham.
Born: Oldbury, Enlisted: West Bromwich, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 21st July 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives survived and transcribed.

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/159377/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
151 Dudley Road, Tividale, Rowley Regis, Staffs.
Humphrey Griffiths (37, Gas Works Labourer, born Rowley Regis), his wife Precila (37, born Rowley Regis), and their 7 children: Louisa (12, born Rowley Regis), John (11, born Rowley Regis), Rebecca (8, born Rowley Regis), William (6, born Rowley Regis), Eliza (4, born Rowley Regis), Humphrey Aaron (2, born Rowley Regis), and Samuel (5 months, born Rowley Regis).

1911 Census
208 Dudley Road, Tividale, Tipton, Staffs.
Homfray Griffiths (48, Brickyard Labourer, born Oldbury), his wife Pricilla (46, born Tividale), and 9 of their 11 children: Louisa (22, Enameller, born Oldbury), William (16, Shovel Roller, born Oldbury), Eliza (14, born Oldbury), Aaron (12, School, born Oldbury), Samuel (10, School, born Tividale), Joseph (8, School, born Tividale), Elizabeth (6, School, born Tividale), Martha (5, School, born Tividale), and Florence (2 months, born Tividale).

Personal Data

Also on Roll of Honour of Tividale Ward, with the same parental address.

William Griffiths attested on 4th September 1914, he was 19 years old, 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighed 116 pounds, had a 34 inch chest. He had a fair complexion, blue eyes and light brown hair. He was employed as a Grinder, and described himself as Wesleyan. He was initially posted to the 10th Bn Rifles, but posted to the 11th Bn on 21st September 1914. This was part of 20th (Light) Division.

In May 1915 William was absent off-pass for one day, and was punished with 7 days 'Confined to Barracks'. During August 1915 when abroad, he was given the very severe punishment of 21 days Field Punishment No. 1, the offence he committed was not recorded. In December 1915, William spent 2 weeks in hospital with a middle ear infection, returning to his unit on 25th December.

William's brother Henry A. Griffiths (53132, 5th Lincs) was killed in action on 22nd April 1918. Henry was not resident in Tipton, but Oldbury. CWGC has him as Humphey Aaron which corresponds with his birth registration and the census information.

'The Fallen of Oldbury, Langley and Warley 1914 - 1918'
Rifleman Griffiths was the son of William and Priscilla Griffiths, of 12 Brades Road, Brades Village, and the brother of Humphrey killed in 1918. During March 1916 the 11th Battalion, Rifle Brigade, was involved in three tours of duty on the Ypres Salient, suffering twenty-five men killed, including Rifleman Griffiths.

Action resulting in his death

The 11th Rifle Brigade were involved in no significant actions during March 1916, but still 15 Other Ranks were killed during the month (per Soldiers Died in the Great War). These would mostly have been during the 3 periods when they were on front line duty, just north of Ypres. William was killed in action on the 23rd March 1916, as was Birmingham man Harold Alders also of the 11th Rifle Brigade. William and Harold are buried side by side in Essex Farm Cemetery, a few miles north of Ypres.

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