Corporal 10644 2nd Bn, Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derbys) Regiment
Died 20th October 1914, aged 25
Remembered at Ploegsteert Memorial
but not in Blakeney
Willie was registered at birth as Willie David B. Bond in the September Quarter of 1889 while Blakeney School Admissions Register gave his date of birth as 23rd May. He was the son of Julia Bond, the unmarried daughter of John and Jane Bond from Bale and Hindringham respectively. His grandparents had subsequently moved to Blakeney where his mother, Julia, was born 8th March, 1865.
Willie appears as Willy in the 1891 Census, aged 1, living with his mother and grandmother. The next five years were to prove eventful for him to say the least. His mother had a daughter late in 1891, again no father was named, and then she died three years later, in January 1895 aged 28. This was followed by the death of his grandmother in January 1896, aged 77. Presumably Willie and his sister had been looked after by their grandmother as the school register records that on 23rd January, the day before she died, the children “Left for Thursford”, the Walsingham District Workhouse. They were still there in 1901 and Willie had become William, the name that would remain with him throughout the rest of his life.
The 1911 Census reveals that William, aged 21, was a career soldier. He was with the 2nd Battalion Sherwood Foresters at Plympton, St. Mary Devon having enlisted at Southwall, Middlesex. The internet site for “Army Service Numbers 1888-1914” records that he enlisted 1907, the year he turned 18.
The 2nd Bn Sherwood Foresters were part of the 18th Brigade, 6th Division and were moved on mobilization to Cambridge. From there they moved to France, 11th September, just in time to reinforce the hard pressed British Expeditionary Forces (BEF) on the Aisne (12-15th Sep). Within the month, the whole BEF had moved to Flanders where the 6th Division was then engaged at the Battle of Armentiéres, that began 19th October. William was an early casualty of the war and while his name is on the Ploegsteert Memorial for the Missing, it is not in Blakeney where there was no close family left to speak up for him.