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Pooley, W., Pte., 1914-18 (1959)

Photo: pooleydee

Medal Index Card

Photo: pooleydee Family grave Shotton Cemetery

Photo: pooleydee With his Artillery Uniform

In Shotton Cemetery is the family grave of William and Hannah Pooley.

William Pooley was born at Hamilton Row, Waterhouses, on the 19th September 1883, baptised on the 11th November 1883, at St. Paul's church, at Waterhouses. He was the 4th son of 5 boys of Henry George Pooley, son of George Pooley, [1832 - 1910], and Susan Tabner, [1832 - 1918], [born 16th August 1854, Mildenhall, Suffolk, who died in October 1887], and his wife Hannah Armitage, [nee Shaw], [born Bradford, 1857, died 1929], they were married 2nd December 1876.

They had 6 children, Susannah born January 1886, [who married James Gibbs, born 1877], George Henry born 1878, James 1880 - 1901, Thomas born 1881, Charles born 1888 - all born at Waterhouses.

When her first husband Henry George Pooley died, Hannah remarried Matthew Johnson, born in 1857 at Houghton-le-Spring.

In 1901 William was a Boarder at 1 Benjamin Court, at Attercliffe cum Darnall, near Sheffield in Yorkshire. By 1909, he had returned to the North East and was residing at 7 Fryer Street, Shotton Colliery with his newly wed wife Hannah [nee Shaw], born 21st July 1884, [died on the 29th April 1976 at Shotton Colliery, County Durham]. They were married on the 1st May 1909 at Shotton [St Saviour] Parish Church. William was employed at the Colliery as a Miner.

[In 1939, they were residing at 63 Urbun Street, Easington, Durham, with their son William who was a plumber at the Colliery].

They had three children Elsie, born 8th August 1910, died 1995, William born 22nd November 1912, baptised 16th January 1913, St Paul's, Haswell, died May 2002] both born at 18 Wilson Terrace, Haswell Plough, and Ada born 22nd June 1920, who married Richard Stark, [born 9th February, 1917, Silver Street, Durham, died 1981. In 1939 they were residing at the back of 4 Dennis Street, Easington, Durham, England].

William attested for the duration of the War, [Short Service], 23rd November 1914 at Sunderland, he was 30 years 2 months old, 5 feet 6 inches high. He was given a Railway Warrant to report to Newhaven, the R.G.A., No 1 Depot, on the 25th November.

1st January 1915 he was posted to the 44th RGA Company as a Gunner with the service number 54918.

No. 44 Company were located at Pembroke Dock part of the Western Coast Defences.

Siege Batteries RGA were equipped with heavy howitzers, sending large calibre high explosive shells in high trajectory, plunging fire. The usual armaments were 6 inch, 8 inch and 9.2 inch howitzers, although some had huge railway- or road-mounted 12 inch howitzers. As British artillery tactics developed, the Siege Batteries were most often employed in destroying or neutralising the enemy artillery, as well as putting destructive fire down on strongpoints, dumps, store, roads and railways behind enemy lines. Source: Long Long Trail.

The 44th Royal Garrison Artillery went to France 24th January 1916, it consisted of two 12 inch railway howitzers.

3rd June 1915, he was transferred to the 3rd Battalion Kings Own Lancashire Regiment. 16th October 1915, William forfeited 7 days pay, for malingering and wilfully inflicting a scar on his back to avoid parade.

William had a new service number 20086 and was in the 5th Battalion East Lancashire Regiment. He spent 1 year and 99 days in the UK.

March 1916 he was part of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, he was posted to the 1/5th Battalion East Lancs Battalion, which was a Battalion in the 126th East Lancashire Brigade, part of the 42nd (East Lancashire) Infantry Division.

William was located in Egypt.

The Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (MEF) was part of the British Army during World War I, that commanded all Allied forces at Gallipoli and Salonika. This included the initial naval operation to force the straits of the Dardanelles. Its headquarters was formed in March 1915. The MEF was originally commanded by General Sir Ian Hamilton until he was dismissed due to the failure of the 29th Division at Gallipoli. Command briefly passed to General William Birdwood, commander of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, but for the duration of the Gallipoli campaign it was General Sir Charles Monro who led the MEF.While the Gallipoli theatre was the only active Mediterranean theatre, the MEF was used to refer to the forces at Gallipoli. With the opening of the Salonika front in October 1915, the forces at Gallipoli were referred to as the Dardanelles Army and the Salonika contingent became the Salonika Army on the Macedonian front (World War I).

Once Salonika became the sole Mediterranean theatre the MEF was commanded by General Archibald Murray who was based in Egypt and whose command also involved defence of the Suez Canal from Turkish attacks. As the importance of the Sinai front grew, a separate headquarters called the Egyptian Expeditionary Force was formed (in March 1916).Supposedly when the British Secretary of State for War, Lord Kitchener, was preparing the Mediterranean expedition he intended to name the headquarters the Constantinople Expeditionary Force but Hamilton suggested this might be a bit of a giveaway, and also noted in his diary, "I begged him to alter this to avert Fate's evil eye".

William had another service number 4903, which is the number quoted by his wife, Hannah in a letter to the Regiments Office, dated 8th December 1916. She was writing to ask where her husband was as she had not heard from him for a while. It was addressed to the Regiment Paymaster at Preston.

On the 8th November 1916, William was transferred to the 20th Garrison Battalion Rifle Brigade. He was again transferred to the Royal Garrison Artillery, service number 54918, he was in 103 Company. Finally transferred to Class 'Z' on the 18th March 1919. Medical Category B1. William was still residing at 7 Fryer Street, Shotton Colliery, Durham.

He applied for a pension, but it was rejected on the 14th May 1920. 1. Neurasthenia1. no disability. 2. Loss of joint Gt toe, 2. (accident) non att. non agg. 3. Lumbago, 3. no disability.

1. Neurasthenia is defined as nervous debility & exhaustion, with symptoms including fatigue, depression, insomnia and inability to concentrate etc.
2. Loss of joint in the great toe or big toe. Non attributed, non aggravated.
3. Lumbago is lower back pain.

William died on the 17th September 1959.

With thanks to Dennis Pooley

Research: James Pasby

If you know more about this person, please send the details to janet@newmp.org.uk