Private William GOODWIN

Border Regiment
1st Battalion
Service Number:
Date of Death:
26 August 1915 - Died of wounds
Cemetery / Memorial:
Grave Reference:
V. F. 5.

Personal History:

William was born in June/July 1890, the son of William (Coachbody Maker) and Elizabeth Goodwin of 3 Rose Bank Cottages, Burbage, Buxton. He had two older sisters, Ada and Mary Lizzie, and a younger brother Ernest (1891 Census RG 12/2779 and1901 Census RG13/3270).

By 1911 (Census RG 14/21237) William's mother had died in 1905 (his Aunt Annie had moved in) and he was working as a "Gardner". The family was still at the same address. When reporting his death, 'The Buxton Advertiser' of the 18th September 1915 said that William had been employed by "... Mr McGlennon, and was previously in the service of Mr T.H. Lowthian, J.P., and also Alderman Hubbersty, J.P."
[N.B. James McGlennon was a "Nurseryman" and lived at Corbar Nurseries, Buxton, with his wife and two children, Sarah and George (see below). Thomas Henry Lowthian had been a 'Merchant' and lived with his wife and 3 Servants at "The Gables" Manchester Road, Buxton.  Henry Alfred Hubbersty was the Director of Buxton Lime Firms Ltd and lived with his wife and 6 servants at Burbage Hall, Buxton.]

'The Buxton Advertiser' of the 18th September 1915 reported that William had set off to join up in early January 1915 with " three companions ..", these being G. McGlennon (presumably Pt. 19114 George McGlennon, the son of his pre-war employer), G. Belfield (L/Cpl  19104 George Belfield, killed in action 19 April 1917) and J. Fern [not found]. All enlisted in The Border Regiment.

When he enlisted in 1915 William gave his address as Green Lane, Buxton, and his occupation still as "Gardner". He was 5 ft. 7 ins. (1.71 m.) tall and weighed 8 st. 13 lbs. (56.7 kgs.)  When his death was reported in the local press some more of his persoanlity came to the fore:

"William was a prominent member of Burbage Men's Club, and always delighted to take part in the various competitions promoted by the Committee, his skill and ability invariably taking him amongst the prizes. He was a highly respected member of the Church Choir. The sad news of his death cast a gloom over his colleagues in the Choir last Sunday. At the close of the morning service at Christ Church, Mr W. Broadbery played 'The Dead March', the congregation standing meanwhile."

(William's younger brother Ernest Goodwin served with The Sherwood Foresters Regiment and was killed in action on The Somme on the 4th July 1916 - see Footnote below.)

Military History:
William enlisted in Manchester ("For The Duration of the War") on the 7th January 1915. Having enlisted at Manchester William joined the Border regiment in Carlisle on the 9th January. Five days later he was posted to the 10th Battalion. After training William transferred to the 1st Battalion of 1st July 1915 and his Medal Index Card shows that he was posted to Eastern Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, sailing on the 26th July, arriving in Egypt on the 11th August 1915, arriving  on the 7th September.

At the start of the War the 1st Battalion had been stationed in Maymyo, Burma. It returned to England, landing at Avonmouth on the 10th January 1915 and moved to Rugby, being attached to 87th Brigade in 29th Division. The Division was originally intended for France, but pressure on Lord Kitchener to launch a ground attack at Gallipoli forced him to deploy the Division there.

The Division embarked at Avonmouth on 16th - 22nd March 1915 and went via Malta to Alexandria. On the 7th April re-embarkation began for the first units to have arrived at Egypt, for the move to Mudros and they subsequently landed at Cape Helles on Gallipoli on the 25th April 1915. William would have followed on after training, as a replacement/reinforcement.

William died of wounds on the 26th August 1915, and it is not obvious where he received his injury. The most likely is The Battle of Scimitar Hill and attack on Hill 60 (21st August). According to CWGC records 96 men of William's 1st Battalion were killed in action on that day. In total he had served just 1 year 234 days with the Colours.

The Despatch of General Sir Ian Hamilton, Commander in Chief of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, printed in the Third Supplement to the London Gazette of 6th January 1916, said, in part, of the attack of the 21st:

"The 29th Division, which was to make the attack on the left, occupied the front trenches during the preceding night; the 11th Division, which was to attack on the right, occupied the front trenches on the right of Yilghin Burnu. By some freak of nature Suvla Bay and plain were wrapped in a strange mist on the afternoon of the 21st of August. This was sheer bad luck, as we had reckoned on the enemy's gunners being blinded by the declining sun and upon the Turkish trenches being shown up by the evening light with singular clearness, as would have been the case on ninety-nine days out of a hundred. Actually we could hardly see the enemy lines this afternoon, whereas out to the westward targets stood out in strong relief against the luminous mist. I wished to postpone the attack, but for various reasons this was not possible, and so, from 2.30 p.m. to 3 p.m. a heavy but none too accurate artillery bombardment from land and sea was directed against the Turkish first line of trenches, whilst twenty-four machine-guns in position on Yilghin Burnu did what they could to lend a hand.

At 3 p.m. an advance was begun by the infantry on the right of the line. ....... The 87th Brigade, on the left, carried the trenches on Scimitar Hill, but the 86th Brigade were checked and upset by a raging forest fire across their front. Eventually pressing on, they found themselves unable to advance up the valley between the two spurs owing to the failure of the 32nd Brigade of the 11th Division on their right. The brigade then tried to attack eastwards, but were decimated by a cross fire of shell and musketry from the north and south-east. The leading troops were simply swept off the top of the spur, and had to fall back to a ledge south-west of Scimitar Hill, where they found a little cover. Whilst this fighting was in progress the 2nd Mounted Division moved out from Lala Baba in open formation to take up a position of readiness behind Yilghin Burnu. During this march they came under a remarkably steady and accurate artillery fire. The advance of these English Yeomen was a sight calculated to send a thrill of pride through anyone with a drop of English blood running in their veins. Such superb martial spectacles are rare in modern waf.

Ordinarily it should always be possible to bring up reserves under some sort of cover from shrapnel fire. Here, for a mile and a half, there was nothing to conceal a mouse, much less some of the most stalwart soldiers England has ever sent from her shores. Despite the critical events in other parts of the field, I could hardly take my glasses from the Yeomen: they moved like men marching on parade. Here and there a shell would take toll of a cluster; there they lay; there was no straggling; the others moved steadily on; not a man was there who hung back or hurried. "

"The Buxton Advertiser" also printed a moving tribute to William received by his mother from "One of his late comrades":


The passing way from this earthly life of Will Goodwin has added another name to the already long list of those who have given their lives for King and Country. No more in Burbage village shall we hear his quick, familiar step and cheery word as he went forth to his daily work. No more will we see him in his accustomed place in Burbage Church Choir, or in the Club at the Institute. Now bright, honest, upright, courageous Will Goodwin lies in a soldier's grave far away on the Gallipoli Peninsular.

There is no young man to-day in Burbage who knew him, but feels that he has lost one of his dearest friends. For Will Goodwin was one who could be called a true comrade, and one in whose company it was a pleasure to be. No-one ever knew him to speak an idle word or pass unjust criticism upon anyone. He was always ready to comfort his friends in distress, or do a kindly deed for anyone, and in things good and noble, one found a ready helper in Will Goodwin.

Alas, he has gone forever from our sight and he lies in that far away land. Friend and stranger will pass over his grave in years to come, but the spirit of our comrade will live for ever in the minds and hearts of his friends at Burbage. The memory of him will never fade in our hearts."

A song for the death day of the brave,
A song of pride.
The youth went down to a hero's grave
With the sword his bride.

He went with his noble heart unworn,
And pure and high;
An eagle stooping from clouds of morn,
Only to die.

And a name and fame above the blight
Of earthly breath;
Beautiful - beautiful and bright
In life and death.

A song for the death-day of the brave,
A song of pride.
For him that went to a hero's grave
With the sword his bride."

· William's brother Private Ernest Goodwin served with Sherwood Foresters Regiment and was killed in action on the 4th July 1916.

Footnote 2:
· Two more Buxton men fell in the same action as that described above - Trooper 1461 William GREGORY, of the Derbyshire Yeomanry,
  was killed in action on the 21st August and Private 1711 Albert Arthur COPELAND, also of the Derbyshire Yeomanry, the following day.

Footnote 3:
· There are two men named "Pt. William GOODWIN" commemorated on Buxton Memorials - both of The Border Regiment.
   In addition to the Private 19112 William Goodwin shown on this page, 19 year old Private 29209 William GOODWIN, 2nd Battalion,
   died in Italy on the 7th January 1918

Only ONE name appears on the Town Memorial on The Slopes (probably Private 19112 [this page] as his brother is also there); BOTH are commemorated on the Burbage Memorials; Private 19112 (this page) on the St John's Church Memorial, and ONE William is named on the St Mary's Church Memorial (Probably Private 129209 as his parents lived in Clough Street, part of St Mary's Parish). 

· I am grateful to Keith Edmonds for the photo of William's Grave
· 'The Buxton Advertiser' 18 September and 30 October 1915

Link to CWGC Record
Hill 10 Cemetery
Pt William Goodwin
Pt William Goodwin's Grave
.... the full Despatch