Private William WHITEHALL (?)

[Possibly] Yorkshire Regiment
(Formerly: Royal Defence Corps)
(Formerly: The Northamptonshire Regiment)
[Possibly] 18th Battalion
(Formerly: 16 & 163 Protection Company)
(Formerly: 4th Battalion, The Northamptonshire Regiment)
Service Number:
[Possibly] 3905
(Formerly: 5427, The Northamptonshire Regiment)
Date of Death:
Cemetery / Memorial:
Grave Number:

Personal History:
The 1911 Census has four men named "W. Whitehall", of a qualifying age, born or living in Derbyshire, but none in the Buxton area.

However, the above named William was born in Northampton in March 1863

In 1911 (Census RG 14/8438) he was living at 15 Althorp Road, Northampton with his wife Jane and their three children, Maud, Alfred and Kathleen. He was still at the same address when he enlisted in 1915 and stood 5 ft. 9 ins (1.75 m.) tall.

Military History:
There are no obvious records on the CWGC Database or on SDGW database. There are two casualties named "W. Whitehall" on both databases, both in the Royal Fusiliers. Neither have any obvious connection to Buxton, both originating in the souh of England.

There are just two Medal Index Cards bearing a name who could be "W. Whitehall". One, a Lance Corporal (i.e. NOT a Private, as recorded on the Memorial) in the Royal Fusiliers, was killed in action on 17 November 1916 and is named on the Thiepval Memorial. The other, Private W., also of the Royal Fusiliers, died on 3 March 1917, but came from London.

However, the William identified above enlisted in the 4th Battalion, The Northamptonshire Regiment, at Northampton, on the 11th March 1915, aged 55. The Battalion had formed at Northampton on the 27th November 1914 as a second line unit. It had moved to Thetford in early 1915; went on to Harrogate in June 1916, Stockton in October 1916, Carburton Camp in May 1917 and finally to Clipstone Camp in November 1917. At the time he enlisted William was a National Reservist and had previously served with the York and Lancaster Regiment.

On the 29th November 1916 William was transferred to the 163 Protection Company, Royal Defence Corps. The
Royal Defence Corps was formed in August 1917. It was initially formed by converting the (Home Service) Garrison
battalions of line infantry regiments. These battalions were composed of soldiers either too old or medically unfit for
active front-line service; the Home Service status indicated they were unable to be transferred overseas.

William was transferred again on the 30th June 1918 to the Yorkshire Regiment, and immediately posted to the 18th Battalion, created originally as the 24th Provisional Battalion in June 1915 and manned by "home service only" men. On the 1st January 1917 it became the 18th Battalion Territorial Force, before being moved to Margate on the 29th April 1917, where it then remained. His Service Papers show that William was posted to the Battalion in Margate on the 29th June 1918.

The tenuous link with Buxton came just a month after William's move to Margate, on the 22nd July 1918, when he was medically examined at Peakdale, Buxton, regarding fitness to continue Military Service. His Service Papers do not show any indication that there was any reason not to, though he was classified as "Medical Category B. II.". He was examined a second time at Peakdale on the 18th September 1918 and again on the 24th December 1918, i.e. after the Armistice,

He was subsequently "Disembodied and discharged" on the 3rd March 1919. He had served a total of 4 years 21 days. William did not serve abroad, so has no Medal Index Card. He has no Commonwealth War Grave, but there is a record of a 'William Whitehall', dying in 1921, so could have been included before the Buxton Memorial was built. However, it is also possible that this is the same William who died in Northampton, in 1941!

In the unlikely event that this is the "W. Whitehall" named on the Memorial, Buxton should be proud of this very brave man, who at the age of 55 enlisted to serve his Country. Perhaps during his time at Peakdale he made some connections who wanted to remember him when he died. However, William's name does NOT appear on the Peakdale Memorial.

Commemorated on:
An unknown grave