Private 345043 William Sayce

Killed in Action on Monday, 8th October 1917, age 22.
Commemorated on Panel 120 to 124 and 162 to 162A and 163A of Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

2nd/8th Bn., Manchester Regiment. 199th Brigade of 66th Division.
Formerly 203183 South Staffordshire Regiment.

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

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 Salem Chapel, and St. Peter's, Greets Green memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/828768/

Genealogical Data

1891 Census.
204 Great Bridge Road, Greets Green, West Bromwich, Staffs.
William Sayce (24, Iron Shearer, born Smethwick), and his wife Maria (23, born West Bromwich). No children.

Birth of William Sayce registered June quarter 1895 in West Bromwich.

1901 Census.
2 Sheepwash Lane, Great Bridge, Tipton, Staffs.
Maria Sayce (33, Widow, born West Bromwich), and her 5 children: Mary E. (9, born West Bromwich), Beatrice M. (7, born West Bromwich), William (5, born West Bromwich), Tom (3, born West Bromwich), and Ida (1, born West Bromwich).

1911 Census.
4 Sheepwash Lane, Great Bridge, Tipton, Staffs.
Maria Sayce (43, Widow, Office Cleaner born West Bromwich), and her 5 children: Mary E. (19, Book Binder, born West Bromwich), Beatrice M. (17, Book Binder, born West Bromwich), William (15, Glass Worker, born West Bromwich), Tom (13, Errand Boy, born West Bromwich), and Ida (11, School, born West Bromwich).

Personal Data

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission says William belonged to the 1st/8th Manchesters; 'Soldiers Died in the Great War' says 2/8th Manchesters. The 1st/8th, as part of 42nd Division, were in Nieuport on the Belgian coast from late Sept 1917 to November 1917. The 2/8th, as part of 66th Division, were involved in The Battle of Poelcapelle - 9th October 1917 so William was almost certainly 2/8th Manchesters.

After William's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £2/1/7d (2 pounds, 1 shilling and 7 pence); this was paid to his mother, Maria, in April 1918. His War Gratuity was £3/0/0d (3 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his mother in November 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that William had enlisted within the previous 12 months.

Action resulting in his death

The 2nd/8th Manchesters were on the Belgian coast, near Nieuwport, until late September 1917 when they were moved back towards the Ypres Salient. After billeting in Brandhoek and Vlamertinghe, on the 6th October they were moved up towards the front line in preparation for the Battle of Poelcapelle on 9th October.

On the 7th October, the 2nd/8th Manchesters moved to their position for the assault 2 days later, this was about 0.5 miles to the north west of Tyne Cot, roughly in a position known as Dagger Trench.

The 8th October was spent in final preparation for battle on the next day. Their War Diary for the day says: “Considerable shelling of front line and support company. Heavy shelling around battalion headquarters. Direct hit obtained on runner’s shed, and majority of headquarters signallers and runners became casualties.”

On that day 20 men of the 2nd/8th Manchesters were killed, including William Sayce. None of the 20 have a known grave and all are commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, just a short distance from where they lost their lives.

Newspaper Cuttings