Private William Mellor BERESFORD


Regiment/Service:
Sherwood Foresters
(Notts and Derby Regiment)
Unit:
1st/6th Battalion ("C" Company, 12 Section)
Service Number:
203841
(Formerly: 25060, 5th (TF) Battalion)
Date of Death:
26 December 1918 - Died (Heart Failure)   
Age:
32
Cemetery / Memorial:
Grave Reference:
LXXII. A. 1.

Personal History:
William was born 'William Mellor' in March 1886 and a year later his mother Hannah married Isaac Smith Beresford (Gardener). (Subsequent Censuses list him as the son of Isaac.) In 1901 the family was living at 69 London Road, Buxton and William was employed as a 'Draper's Errand Boy' (1901 Census: RG 13/3269).

Ten years later (1911 Census RG 14/21242) William was still living at home at the same address and employed as a 'Shop Assistant'. On the 27th October 1912 he married Lily Foster at the Wesleyan Chapel, Buxton, and they lived at 52 South Avenue, Buxton. They had two children, Clifford T., born September quarter 1912, and William E., September quarter 1913.

When William enlisted in 1917 they were living at 52 The Pies, Buxton, and was employed as a 'Postman'. He was 5 ft. 8" ins. (1.74 m.) tall and weighed 8 st. 11 lbs. (55.8 kgs.). During the War and after William's death, his family lived at 10 Cottenham Road, Rotherham, Yorkshire.

Military History:
William enlisted at Bakewell on the 28th April 1917. He was posted to the Derby Depot on the same day, and initially joined the 5th (Reserve) Battalion on 1st May 1917.  His Service Papers show that William was posted overseas, sailing from Saltfleet, on the 27th March 1917, arriving at The Infantry Base Depot (I.B.D.), Calais, the following day.

He appears to have remained at the I.B.D. until being posted to the 2/6th Battalion, 'A' Company. on 28th March 1918. William's time with the 2/6th was short as he was back at Calais by the 7th May. On the 17th May he joined the "1st Echelon" of the DGT Troops GHQ, also at Calais, and on the 30th September was posted, for "record purposes" to the 1/6th Battalion.

After the Armistice was signed on the 11th November 1918 William's Battalion was stationed at Landrecies, east of Cambrai, where the chief activity seemed to be inter-Unit football matches. Throughout November and December drafts of men were being sent home for demobilisation, but he was not among them, being admitted to Hospital in Etaples.

On Boxing Day 1918, William died from Heart Failure. His autopsy record showed "Disease of the Coronary Arteries". He was buried in the Étaples Cemetery. During the Great War, the area around Étaples was the scene of many military hospitals. It was remote from attack, except from aircraft, and accessible by railway from both the northern or the southern battlefields. It included eleven general, one stationary, four Red Cross hospitals and a convalescent depot, could deal with 22,000 wounded or sick. 

Sources:
· "Men of the High Peak: A History of the 1/6th Battalion the Sherwood Foresters 1914-18" - Capt. W D Jamieson (ISBN-10: 0952964864)
    Miliquest  Publications (1 Oct 2004)
· I am grateful to Steve Godfrey for the photo of William's grave

Link to CWGC Record
Etaples Cemetery c. 1919
Etaples Cemetery c. 1919
Pt William Beresford's grave
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