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Williams, J.G., Pte., 1915

Ypres Reservoir Cemetery: P. Priano

Ypres Reservoir Cemetery: Pauline Priano

In Ypres Reservoir Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium, is the Commonwealth War Grave of 15178 Private John George Williams serving with the Durham Light Infantry who died 29/09/1915.

Pauline Priano has submitted the following:-

John George Williams, known as John, one of 9 known children, was the 4th born of 6 brother and had 1 elder and 2 younger sisters. His father Thomas Williams, born 1861 at Bangor, Wales, had been brought to England, along with his siblings, by his parents Joseph and Ann who had firstly settled in Staffordshire before migrating to Rainton, County Durham by 1871. Thomas married during the 3rd quarter (Jul/Aug/Sep) 1881 to local girl Mary Jane Saunders born 1864 at Ferryhill, County Durham. Newly-wed they migrated to Maryport, Cumberland where their eldest son Thomas Jnr was born by the end of the year, however, they returned to County Durham the following year settling at Brandon. Daughter Jane Ann was born at Brandon in 1884 as were her siblings Edward 1886 and Simpson 1890. In 1891 they were living at 13, High Street, the birthplace also of John George in 1892. They had moved to 3rd Row High Wheatley Hill by 1911, their family now complete with the birth of Helen 1895, Charles 1899 and Frank 1901. Thomas Williams was employed as a hewer at the local colliery as were Simpson (21) and John (18), their sister Helen (16) assisted her mother in the home, Charles (12) and Frank (10) were scholars.

When war was declared in August 1914 John was living at Hetton-le-Hole and enlisted at Houghton-e-Spring, assigned as Private 15178 Durham Light Infantry. He was posted to the 10th Battalion joining them at Woking where they began training wearing their own clothes and with very little equipment until they received khaki uniforms and modern rifles, February 1915, moved to barracks at Aldershot for final training, departing with the British Expeditionary Force, May 21st 1915, attached to the 43rd Brigade, 14th (Light) Division. They disembarked at Boulogne, France, and still unprepared, were sent to Belgium into the trenches of the salient just south of Ypres participating at the attack at Bellewaarde, May 24th-25th a phase of the 2nd Battle of Ypres, which raged from April 22nd-May 25th 1915, the regiment remained on the Ypres salient until being transferred to the Somme in 1916.

Private 15178 John George Williams was killed in action, September 29th 1915, his body buried at Ypres in what was then known as Prison Cemetery No.2, later his remains along with those of 106 others were exhumed and brought into Ypres Reservoir Cemetery created close by. He is at rest grave XI. E. 18. and was 23 years of age. Although his brothers, with the exception of Frank, would have been eligible for war service no records have been found.

He had nominated his parents as joint legatees, they received all monies due to him also his awards of the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.

Both his parents may have died in the district of Easington, County Durham in 1935, Thomas Williams aged 74 years, Mary Jane Williams nee Saunders aged 71 years.

In Godís safe keeping. Rest In Peace.

John George Williams is remembered at Wheatley Hill on W114.03 and W114.06 and possibly at Hetton-le-Hole as Gunner J. Williams on H125.06

He is also remembered in The DLI Book of Remembrance page 267

The CWGC entry for Private Williams

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