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Rifleman Cyril Wills

C/640 King's Royal Rifle Corps

CyrilSon of Mr Samuel & Mrs Fanny Wills

Aged 26 years

Died 28th August 1916

Commemorated at Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-L'Abbe
Grave III. G.39

Born and resided at Rushden, enlisted at Higham Ferrers.
From the Burnt Records

Cyril was aged 24 years and 5 months when he enlisted at Higham on 24th Spetember 1914. He was a printer by trade, 5' 3½" tall, weight 120lbs, and of very fair physical development. He died of a gun shot wound to the chest. His effects were sent to his parents Samuel & Fanny at 57 Kings Road, his brother Arthur lived next door at 55, and their sister Mary Chettle lived at 42 Crabb Street.
The Rushden Echo Friday 14 July 1916, transcribed by Nicky Bates

Rushden Soldier Missing - Rifleman Leonard Sayer - The Great Offensive - News Wanted

Mr and Mrs J Sayer, of 63, Harborough-road, Rushden, have we regret to say, received some disconcerting news regarding they son, Rifleman L Sayer, of the King's Royal Rifles, who is officially reported as missing since July 2nd.

The first news was received through the medium of Mrs Hinde, Orchard-place, Rushden, whose husband, Drummer B Hinde, wrote:-

"I dare say you remember me writing and telling you about Leonard Sayer, who lives up the Harborough-road. I am grieved to tell you that he has been missing for several days, and I think he must be dead. I feel so grieved for his parents, as he was a good living lad."

Mrs Hinde considerately lost no time in conveying the information to Mrs Sayer, who shortly afterwards received a letter from Gunner Cyril Wills (Rushden), of the Machine Gun Section, K.R.R.'s confirming the news. Gunner Wills wrote that Leonard was missing, and that his papers had been entrusted to his (Gunner Wills's) care. Gunner Wills added the information that he was on sentry duty and shook hands with him as he (Rifleman Sayer) was going out with a raiding party....

The Rushden Echo Friday 1 September 1916, transcribed by Nicky Bates

A Rushden CLB Bugler - Wounded in France - Private Cyril Wills in Hospital

Private Cyril Wills (Rushden), of the King's Royal Rifles, youngest son of Mr and Mrs S Wills, of 57, Roberts-street, Rushden, is in hospital in France suffering from wounds in the chest received in battle yesterday week.

A corporal in the hospital writes to Private Wills' parents that he is making satisfactory progress, and will probably be well enough to be removed to England in a few days' time. Private Wills, who has been in France about ten months, was formerly a bugler in the Rushden St Mary's C.L.B., and up to the time of his enlistment was a member of St May's Church Choir. He was also a teacher at St Mary's Sunday school.

The Argus, 1st September 1916, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Printer Dangerously Ill

Pte. Cyril Wills (King’s Royal Rifles), the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Wills, of Robert-street, Rushden, has, we are sorry to state, been severely wounded, and is lying dangerously ill in a hospital in France. The first news was sent by telegram from France, and since then Pte. Ben Hinde (Rushden), of the same battalion, has sent word of the wounded man. Pte. Hinde says that while he was acting as stretcher bearer he saw Pte. Wills when lying wounded. He confirms the telegram that the injuries were of a very serious nature. Pte. Wills enlisted soon after the war broke out, and went to France last summer. He formerly worked for Mr. Knight, printer, Rushden.7

The Rushden Echo Friday 8 September 1916, transcribed by Nicky Bates

Death Caused by Wounds - Rushden C.I.B. Bugler
A Victim of the War - The Late Rifleman Cyril Wills

In our last issue we reported that C640 Rifleman Cyril Wills (Rushden), of the King's Royal Rifles, youngest son of Mr and Mrs S Wills, 57, Roberts-street, Rushden, was wounded and in hospital in France. We now regret to report that official news was received on Saturday morning that he had succumbed to his injuries on Aug. 28th.

The official intimation was sent from the Record Office of the King's Royal Rifles, Winchester, but it is a strange coincidence that a postcard was received by the same post, dated Aug. 28th as follows:-

"Dear madam, - Your son, Rifleman Wills, is wounded, but he wishes me to tell you that he is getting on well and hopes soon to be home, and that you are not to worry. Yours very truly, L MacLean Watts, Chaplain to the Forces."

In view of the official document, however, which doubtless was a reply to a wire sent by his parents, his relatives have no reason to doubt that he has passed away, and much sympathy is felt with them in the loss they have sustained in the death of their son.

The late Rifleman Wills was 26 years of age. He enlisted shortly after the outbreak of war, and proceeded to the western front about ten months ago. Prior to enlistment he was in the printing trade, serving his apprenticeship at Messrs. Croft and Nichols, subsequently being employed by Mr Knight, Oswald-road. Rushden. For many years he was a bugler in St Mary's C.L.B., being one of the oldest members. He was a member of the choir of St Mary's right up to the time of joining the colours, and he also rendered valuable service as a teacher in the Sunday School.

Mr and Mrs Wills and family desire to express their sincere thanks for the many expression of sympathy they have received in the loss of their on who has so gallantly given his life in the country's cause.

Wellingborough News, September 8 1916, transcribed by Clive Wood

Rushden Soldier Dies of Wounds

We reported last week that Pte Cyril Wills (Kings Royal Rifles) youngest son of Mr & Mrs S Wills of Robert-street, Rushden, was seriously ill as the result of a wound in the chest. Since then the parents have received the sad news that their son passed away early last week. The deceased young man formerly worked for Mr Knight, printer, and was well known as a member of St Mary's Church Choir and a teacher at St Mary's Sunday School. Much sympathy will be felt with the mother and father and other relatives.

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