Private William Kenneth WEAVER
(Shown as: " K. WEAVER" on Memorial)


Regiment/Service:
Sherwood Foresters
(Notts and Derby Regiment)
Unit:
2nd/6th Battalion (Territorial Force)
Service Number:
241700
(Originally: 4754)
Date of Death:
26 September 1917 - Killd in Action
Age:
22 or 23
Cemetery / Memorial:
Memorial Reference:
Panel 102


Personal History:

William was born at Heaton Chapel, Cheshire, in the September quarter 1894. He was the son of Reginald (Commercial Traveller) and Annie Prichard (née Smith) Weaver, and had an older brother, Stanley, and a younger sister, Doris Prichard.

The 1901 Census (RG 13/3311) lists William as 'Kenneth', accounting for his name entry on the Buxton Memorial. The family were living at 2 New Hall Street, Macclesfield, Cheshire, but there appears to be no record of any of the family on the 1911 Census.
Presumably, at some time between 1901 and his enlistment Kenneth and/or his family moved to Buxton, although Probate Records give his address as 36 Beech Lane, Macclesfield. His estate was left to his sister, Doris, and amounted to £94. 19s. 3d. [£94.96], a relative value of about £4,643.00 today (2014).

Military History:
Kenneth enlisted into the Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment) on a Short Service attestation at Buxton. His Service papers have not survived and his medal Index Card does not give a date for when he was posted to France, but as he was not eligible for the '1915 Star' medal it must have been after 1915. However, by comparing his Service Number with others whose records have survived, it looks very likely that Kenneth enlisted for 4 years in the 2/6th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters, in early July 1915, probably moving to the Training Reserve.

It seems that William Kenneth was a "Derby Scheme" man with an original 4-digit number 4754.
He was called up to 2/6th Battalion on the 29th January 1916. The 2/6th Battalion was formed at
Chesterfield on 14th September 1914 as a second line unit. It moved on 2nd November to Buxton,
with Battalion HQ occupying the Empire Hotel [see right]. After a lengthy period of training in April
1916 the Battalion was posted to Ireland to quell disturbances. At the time Kenneth joined the
Battalion, it was probably during this time that it was serving in Ireland, before moving, on the 12th
January 1917, to Fovant and landing at Boulogne on the 25th February 1917.


                            

During the Third Battles of the Ypres (31st July - 10th November 1917) the 2/6th Battalion were engaged in several phases as part of the 178th (2/1st Sherwood Forester) Brigade, particularly The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, 20th - 25th September. The 2/6th took part in The Battle of Polygon Wood from the 26th to 29th September and they were forward of Wieltje. 

The War Diary shows that from the 1st to 19th September 1917 the Fighting Strength of the Battalion was "Officers 18; O.R.'s 816", and that it was training North of Winnezeele (about 25 kms. West of Ypres). On the 20th the Battalion practiced for an attack scheduled for 5.50 a.m., 26th September, and at 6.00 p.m. marched to the trenches and four hours later relieved the 2/5th South Staffordshire Regiment in the front line running from Gravenstafel Road to Downing Trench.

The 2/6th Battalion continue to prepare that night as the Artillery practiced for operations the following day. In return Kenneth and his comrades were "fairly heavily shelled" and "2 O.R.'s wounded". At 5.50 a.m., however, the planned for attacked commenced: The War Diary reads as follows:

"5.50 a.m. - After heavy artillery barrage Battalion left its kicking off position, with 2/7th SF on the left and the 177 Bde on the right. The objective which was from D14d36 inclusive to the Gravenstafel Road (exclusive) was reached about 7.30 a.m. A number of prisoners were taken. The enemy shelled our positions during the day." 


                             

Kenneth was Officially listed as 'missing' in the War Office Daily Casualty List (List Number 5414,
Part VII) published on the 12th November 1917. Subsequently confirmed as 'killed in action'. The
Battalion sustained 11 Officer and 220 other rank casualties, many from continuous enemy shelling.
It is most likely, therefore, that Kenneth met his death in the area near Gravenstafel Road. Nineteen
others of the 2/6th Battalion who were killed during The Battle of Polygon Wood (26th to 29th
September) have no known grave and are commemorated, with Kenneth on the Tyne Cot Memorial.

Footnote:
· A number of other Buxton men enlisted in the 2/6th Battalion at about the same time as Kenneth - judging by
  their Service Numbers - and gave their lives:

   Sgt/Pt 240842 Raymond BENNETT - was killed in action on the  27 April 1917
   Pt 241835 Norman WHEELDON (WHIELDON) - died in the same Battle as Kenneth on the 29 September 1917
   Dr or Pt 241664 Harold HOY - died of his wounds on the 2 October 1917
   Cpl 241821 Phillip BERRIFORD - killed in action on the 3 April 1918

Sources:
· I am grateful to Frederik Sohier for the photo of Kenneth's grave.
· I am also grateful to Colin W. Taylor for the War Diary extract.
· .... and to Mike Briggs for the information on the re-numbering and Derby Scheme.

Link to CWGC Record
The Tyne Cot memorial
poppy
William Kenneth Weaver's name on the Memorial
..... about the "Derby Scheme"
about the Battle of Polygon Wood
Polygon Wood - photgraphed
after the Battle