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Information and papers kindly loaned by Sue Green
AB William Henry Whitehead
R/5961 Anson Battalion Royal Navy Volunteer Regiment

AB WhiteheadSon of Mr Thomas and Mrs Charlotte Whitehead
Husband of Elizabeth (nee Parker)

Died 25th August 1918

Aged 36 years

Commemorated at AIF Burial Ground, Flers
Grave XI. J.10

Born and enlisted Rushden.
William Henry Whitehead was born on 1st March 1882 in Rushden, where he grew up to work as a clicker, and was of the Wesleyan religion. He had black hair, brown eyes, was of pale complexion and 5 feet 6½ inches tall, when he enlisted at Leicester on 14th August 1917 and he joined the Royal Navy Volunteer Regiment.

He served with the 3rd Reserve Battalion and was rated to Able Seaman on the 1st of December 1917. On the 17th December 1917 he embarked at Folkestone, on 19th Dec 1917 at Boulogne and moved to Calais on the 20th.

On the 5th January 1918 he joined the Anson Battalion and on the 16th of January he was detached to the Tunnelling Company, and rejoined the Anson on the 23rd January.

On March 17th he was gassed and taken to the hospital at Rouen and seven days later was sent back to England on the “St David” to recover.

After convalescence, he was drafted from the 2nd Reserve Battalion Aldershot to the Anson Battalion of British Expeditionary Forces. He embarked at Dover 24th July 1918 - the next day disembarked at Calais. Just one month later he died of wounds on or shortly after 25th August 1918.

On the 21st of April 1920 his body was exhumed and then re-buried at Guerdecourt, 3 miles SSW of Bapaume, Plot XI, row J, grave number 10. His wife Elizabeth was next of kin and their address in August 1917 was 14 Succoth Place.

Commemoration from the Anson Battalion

Commemorative scroll William's gravestone The envelope in which the coin was despatched
The gravestone at Gueudecourt, 3 miles SSW of Bapaume, Plot 11, row J, grave number 10.
The scroll, gravestone and "dead man's penny", and the envelope
Rushden Echo, October 4th, 1918 Page 4, Col4/5

Casualty List Victims of the War
Mrs W. Whitehead, of 14, Succoth-place, Rushden, has received official news that her husband, R/5961, A.B. Wm. Henry Whitehead, R.N.D., has been missing from his unit since August 25th. A letter, however, received from her husband's commanding officer does not state that he is missing, but says he was reported wounded on August 25th. It is five weeks since Mrs Whitehead received a letter from her husband, and in view of the somewhat conflicting reports she will be grateful for further news. A.B. Whitehead enlisted twelve months ago last August and went to France in November. He received severe gas shell wounds last March, and was sent home, returning to France in July. Before joining the Colours he was employed by Messrs Jaques and Son, Ltd.

'Dead Man's Penny'
Rushden Echo, October 11th, 1918 Page 2, Column 5-7

Rushden's Casualty List

It is officially reported that A.B. William Henry Whitehead, Anson Battalion, R.N.D., aged 36, husband of Mrs Whitehead, of 14, Succoth-place, Rushden, was killed in action on August 25th. He was officially reported missing on Rushden Feast Sunday. He leaves a widow and one little girl. He joined the Colours on August 14th, 1917, and went to France last November. Last March he received a severe gas shell wound, and was sent home to England for about five months, returning to France on July 24th last. Up to the time of enlistment he was employed by Messrs Jaques and Son, boot manufacturers, Rushden. He was well known locally as a footballer, having played for both the Fosse and Windmill Football Clubs.

The Wellingborough News, 18 October 1918

Fateful News - Missing Man Reported Killed

Mrs Whitehead of 14, Succoth-place, Rushden, received official news on Tuesday morning that her husband, A.B. Wm. Hy. Whitehead, R.N.D., was killed in action on August 25th.

The soldier was announced as missing about a fortnight

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