William House

Service:                Army

Rank:                    Private

Service No:           7927

Unit:                     1st Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment

William was born in Paulton Somerset in 1886.  He was the 5th child of Robert & Mary House.  In 1901 he was living with his parents and siblings at 4 Broad Street Bristol; his father was a currier & William was a shoe maker. 

In August 1914 the 1st Battalion was stationed in Bordon, part of the 3rd Infantry Brigade, 1st Division, and was among the first British troops to disembark in Le Havre, on 13th August. The battalion saw action in the early battles of the war – Mons and the retreat, the Marne, the Aisne, First Ypres and Givenchy.

 From 12th September 1914 the German Army began to “dig in” on the high ground of the Chemin des Dames ridge on the north bank of the river Aisne. The Germans dug defensive trenches with the intention of securing the position and preventing any further possibility of withdrawal. This battlefield area witnessed the beginnings of entrenched positions and the change from a mobile war to a static deadlock between the opposing forces. From this date the entrenchments would gradually spread along the whole length of the Western Front, would become deeper and more impregnable and would characterize the siege warfare fighting of the Western Front for the following three and a half years.

During the First Battle of the Aisne (12th - 15th September 1914) the German right wing could not be dislodged by the Allied forces of the French Sixth Army, the British Expeditionary Force and the French Fifth Army. The consequence of the Germans establishing entrenched positions on the Chemin des Dames ridge was that the Allied armies were unsuccessful in making a frontal assault on it. They were, therefore, compelled to look for open ground on either flank of the German position.

William was killed in action on the 14th September 1914, he is remembered with honour on the La Ferte –Sous-Jouarre Memorial. His widowed mother lived at 28 Cossham Rd. St. George, Bristol.

Image by CWGC.

William was awarded The 1914 Star with clasp, The British War Medal & the Victory Medal.

References

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

wikipedia

1901 UK census