Williams, William Thomas

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William Thomas Williams

43901, Private, 17th Royal Welsh Fusiliers
Killed in action, 8 October 1918, aged 37
Buried at Prospect Hill Cemetery, Gouy, France

CWGC registered (Son of Thomas and Margaret Williams, of Llandudno; husband of Ann Williams, of “Silverdale”, Lloyd St, Llandudno, Carnarvonshire)


William Thomas Williams was born on 15 December 1880 in Salford, Lancashire to Welsh parents: Thomas Williams and Margaret Williams (née Roberts). The Census for 1881 records the family of three living at 5 Bradshaw Street, Salford – Thomas Williams was employed as a railway labourer. The Census of Wales for 1891, taken on the night of 5/6 April, records William (10) residing at the home of his grandparents, William and Elizabeth Roberts and his aunt Jane Roberts: “Gale House”, Tyn-y-Coed Road, Llandudno. Interestingly, the register of St. George’s National School dated 21 April 1891 records William living at the same address naming his father as his parent/guardian. There appears to be no record of when William left school though he was appointed as a postman in Llandudno/Llanrhos in 1900. The Census of 1901 records William living at the home of his aunt Jane Roberts at “Thorn Lea”, Tyn-y-Coed Road. On 6 November 1907, William Williams married Annie Hughes at St. George’s Church, Llandudno; he gave his address as 4 Ormonde Terrace, Llandudno which was his aunt’s address as recorded in the Census of 1911. The same census recorded William, Annie and their son Arthur Gilbert Williams, born in April 1909, living at “Gwalchmai”, Tudno Road. In 1913, the family was recorded as living at “Silverdale”, Lloyd Street.

William Williams enlisted at Llandudno and though his army record no longer exists, his regimental number of 43901 in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, his age and marital status indicate that he may have enlisted at the end of 1915 and was called up in mid-1916. Where he carried out his infantry training is unknown but his service in France is unusual in that he spent six separate periods with the 17th (Service) Battalion RWF as well as time on the strengths of the infantry base depot, the railhead (postal work), Headquarters 38th Division and the brigade school headquarters. These periods away from the front line indicate that he may have been ill and/or wounded and thus carrying out light duties.

Having advanced into recently-evacuated German trenches on 5 October 1918, the 38th (Welsh) Division found it could advance no further because the Germans had reorganised themselves into another defensive line which ran through Mortho Wood. The 17th RWF attacked at 01.00 on 8 October with the objective of the Beaurevoir Line and high ground in front of the village of Villers Outreau. Although the objectives are taken as well as 50 prisoners, the battalion suffered some casualties – 10 officers and 100 other ranks including William Thomas Williams who was killed in action aged 37. William Williams was buried near where he fell but in 1920, his body was exhumed and he was reburied at Prospect Hill Cemetery, Gouy.

Annie Williams died in 1927; Arthur Gilbert Williams died in 1970.

Known memorials:

  • Llandudno Roll of Honour
  • Llandudno War Memorial
  • Memorial Chapel, Holy Trinity Church, Llandudno
  • Grandparents’ headstone, St. Tudno’s Churchyard
  • Family memorial, Great Orme’s Head Cemetery

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