Private 9800 William Westwood

Killed in Action on Saturday, 17th February 1917, age unknown.
Commemorated on Pier and Face 7 B of Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

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

Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Unknown.

First landed France & Flanders, 5th October 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 Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/820610/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
21 Keelinge Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Thomas Westwood (34, Puddler in Forge, born Tipton), his wife Sarah (35, born, Dudley), and their 6 children: Thomas (6, born Tipton), William (5, born Tipton), Alice (3, born Tipton), Elizabeth (1, born Tipton).

1911 Census
5 Dudley Port (near station), Tipton, Staffs.
Thomas Westwood (44, Bolter-down at Strip Mill, born Tipton), his wife Sarah (46, born Kates Hill, Dudley), and 5 of their 6 surviving children of 8: William (15, Iron Moulder, born Tipton), Alice (13, born Tipton), Elizabeth (11, born Tipton), Annie (9, born Tipton) and Gerald (5, born Tipton).

Personal Data

After William's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £5/17/4d (5 pounds, 17 shillings and 4 pence); this was paid to his mother and sole legatee, Sarah, in May 1918. His War Gratuity was £11/0/0d (11 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his mother in January 1920. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that William had enlisted in approximately September 1914.

Action resulting in his death

The attack on Miraumont Farm February 17th 1917 (from "Old Foleyans")
February 17th was set for an attack on Baillecourt Farm, which if won would give command of the western approaches to Miraumont. The Battalion left their billets in the evening of February 16th, the cloudy weather resulted in a pitch black night, and the thaw made the going very difficult. The Germans evidently expected the attack, and their artillery shelled the British fronts and forming-up places continuously.

At 5.45am on February 17th, the British barrage opened and the assaulting lines began to crawl forward. For some time the position was rather obscure. The Battalion gained the objective but was subject to heavy machine gun fire and the casulaties were heavy. Afterwards it was discovered that the attack had been given away, and the German line strongly reinforced with men and machine guns.

Some objecives of the day were attained, but three Tipton men (Fletcher, Weswood and Matthews), were to lose their lives on this day. The ground captured gave the British good observation over the upper Ancre Valley, and the Germans subsequently withdrew from Pys and Miraumont to minimise their casualties. William Westwood has no known grave, and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald 14 April 1917
The following Tipton Soldiers are reported missing, Private WB Jukes (survived), W. Matthews (killed in action 17/2/17) and W Westwood (killed in action 17/2/17), all of the South Staffs.