Private 1757 William Payton

Killed in Action on Wednesday, 13th October 1915, age 25.
Commemorated on Panel 73 to 76 of Loos Memorial, Pas De Calais, France.

1st/6th Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 137th Brigade of 46th Division.

Son of Samuel and Elizabeth Payton
Born: Upper Gornal, Enlisted: Wolverhampton, Resident: Dudley.

First landed France & Flanders, 5th March 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. Matthew's memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1766472/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
3 Simons Passage, Tipton, Staffs.
Samuel Payton (35, Chainmaker, born Sedgley), his wife Elizabeth (35, born Sedgley), and their 6 children: William (11, born Sedgley), Samuel (9, born Tipton), Edith (6, born Sedgley), Hannah (4, born Sedgley), John (2, born Tipton), and Alfred (2 months, born Tipton).

William Payne married Hannah Chambers in March quarter 1910, at St James' Church, Dudley.

1911 Census
21a Himley Road, Dudley.
William Payton (21, Chainmaker, born Upper Gornal), his wife Hannah (23, born Dudley), and their son William (1, born Dudley).

Personal Data

Why does William appear on the Tipton memorial when he was born in Upper Gornal and was resident in Dudley?

The 1891 Census shows that William and his parents had moved to Tipton within about a year of his birth in Gornal. It seems that William Payton moved to Dudley when he married in 1910, but his parents still lived in Tipton and put his name forward for the Tipton Memorial. According to his Medal Index Card his father, Mr S. Payton of 50 Hall Street, Tipton, requested his medals in 1920.

Action resulting in his death

The 1/6th South Staffs arrived in France between the 3rd and 5th March 1915. They moved to Armentieres on 20th March and then to Fletre for further training. In April the battalion marched to Wulveringhem in Belgium alternating between trench duties and further training. In June 1915 they moved nearer to Ypres, and for the next 2 months spent time at the feared Hill 60.

On 2nd October the 1/6th moved back into France to take part in the second stage of the Loos Offensive. Further training preceded the march to the assembly trenches near Vermelles on 12th October.

At noon on 13th October, a fine sunny day, the attack commenced. The 1/5th and 1/6th South Staffs were to attack the West Face of the heavily defended Hohenzollern Redoubt, from the trench known as Big Willie which was already partly held by the 1/5th South Staffs. The South Staffs battalions were to attack in 4 waves; 'B' and 'C' companies of the 1/5th, followed by 'A' and 'D' companies of the 1/5th, followed by 'A' and 'C' companies of the 1/6th, and finally 'B' and 'D' companies of the 1/6th.

The first wave hardly got out of their trench due to devastating machine gun fire decimating their number. The second wave made their advance unaware of the disaster in front of them and suffered similarly high casualties. The third wave followed on as ordered, as they too were unaware of the situation in front due to lack of communication and the smoke intended to mask the South Staffs advance. The fourth wave also took losses, but at this point the attack was called off.

The 1/5th South Staffs, who provided the first and second waves, had over 100 men killed on the day or died from wounds in the next week. The 1/6th South Staffs, who provided the third and fourth waves, lost over 125 men. The attack was a costly failure and this in effect was the culmination of the Battle of Loos. This was the single most expensive day for the 46th (North Midlands) Division, even though it was involved in July 1st 1916 at Gommecourt. The Division had casualties of 180 Officers and 3583 Other Ranks. As Edmonds wrote in the Official History ".. it was a long time before the Division recovered from the effects of 13th October."

William Payton, like the majority of the men killed here, has no known grave and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial at Dud Corner, in sight of the Hohenzollern Redoubt.

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