Private 20140 William Nock

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William Nock with his wife Ada and daughter Gertrude. Photo courtesy of David Hunstone.

Killed in Action on Thursday, 8th March 1917, age unknown.
Buried in Grave II. G. 21. at Pozieres British Cemetery, Ovillers-La Boisselle, Somme, France.

2nd Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 6th Brigade of 2nd Division.

Husband of Mrs A. Johnson (formerly Nock), of 1, Dudley Rd., Tividale, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tividale, Enlisted: Wolverhampton, Resident: Tividale.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/589356/

Genealogical Data

Birth of William Henry Nock registered September quarter 1891 in Dudley.

1901 Census
53 Gilbert Street, Tividale, Tipton, Staffs.
Job Nock (31, Gas Works Labourer, born Halesowen), his wife Elizabeth (33, born Dudley), and their 2 children: William H. (9, born Rowley Regis), and Gertrude (4, born Rowley Regis).

1911 Census
59 Gilbert Street, Tividale, Tipton, Staffs.
Job Nock (41, Gas Works Stoker, born Rowley Regis), his wife Elizabeth (43, born Dudley), and their 5 surviving children of 13: William H. (19, Refuse Boat Unloader, born Rowley), Gertrude (14, born Rowley), Ruth (7, born Rowley), Anne (5, born Rowley), and Harry (2 months, born Rowley).

Marriage of William H. Nock and Ada Allmark registered September quarter 1911 in Dudley. In 1911 Ada had been living with her parents at 117 Gilbert Street, so William and Ada had been neighbours.

William and Ada had 3 children, 2 of whom died less than 1 year old: William H. (born September quarter 1911, died March quarter 1912), Job (born June quarter 1913, died September quarter 1913), and Gertrude (born September quarter 1914, and happily lived until 2001 when she died at the age of 87 years).

Personal Data

After William's death his outstanding army pay and allowances were paid in June 1917 to his widow and sole legatee, Ada; this amounted to £2/5/10d (2 pounds, 5 shillings and 10 pence). In October 1919 his War Gratuity was paid to Ada, this amounted to £6/10/0d (6 pounds and 10 shillings). By this time Ada was Mrs Ada Johnson, having married Thomas Johnson in September quarter 1919; they were to have 4 daughters.

The value of William's War Gratuity and his date of death suggest that he had enlisted in the army in September 1915. His Medal Roll entry tells us that William first served with the 9th Battalion, South Staffords before joining the 2nd Battalion, South Staffords. We know that William did not serve abroad before 1916, but we do not know when William transferred from the 9th to 2nd Battalions.

Action resulting in his death

The 2nd South Staffs, as part of 6th Division, were one of the first units to arrive in France. We do not know when William transferred from the 9th to the 2nd Battalions, South Staffs, but he could have been involved in the Battle of Delville Wood and the Battle of the Ancre during the 1916 Somme campaign.

New Year 1917 saw the 2nd South Staffs well behind the lines, moving back to the Somme area in mid-January. They spent just 5 days in the front line at Courcelette before they took part in an attack on German lines between Courcelette and Pys on 17th February. The surprise element of this attack was supposedly lost due to a deserter giving away the plans. 5 Officers and 64 Other Ranks were killed with more dying of wounds on subsequent days.

The battalion was then withdrawn from the lines to huts near Pozieres and Ovillers. They spent the next few weeks doing elements of training, but mostly supplying working parties and also working on the roads near Courcelette.

The War Diary for 8th March 1917 reports: "B Company on work in Courcelette suffered 21 casualties", it is likley that this was from shell-fire. 5 men of the 2nd South Staffs were killed in action on this day, including William Nock; they are buried side-by-side in Pozieres British Cemetery, a photograph of their graves can be found below.

Newspaper Cuttings


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William Nock and 4 comrades of the 2nd South Staffs, all killed on 8th March 1917.