681422 BDR. H. W. WILSON.  R.F.A.

 

Herbert William Wilson was born in 1897 in Malta.  His father was William Wilson (b. 1869 in Birkenhead), a career soldier.  His mother was Eleanor Rose Alderton (b. 1878 in Weedon, Northamptonshire), the daughter of a career soldier.

 

William Wilson (Herbert’s father) enlisted in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, aged 18, in 1887.  He served in Ireland from 1887-91, then in various locations in England and Wales from 1891-96, then in the Mediterranean (Malta, Crete and Egypt) from 1896-98, and then he was based in Carnarvon until he retired from the Army in 1908.  By then he had served 21 years and 88 days.  He was regularly promoted throughout his years of service and ended up in Carnarvon as Colour Sergeant Instructor of Musketry.  He met his wife-to-be when he was based in Salford (Eleanor’s father was a colour sergeant in the 45th Sherwood Foresters) and they married there in 1896; she accompanied him to Malta which is where Herbert was born the following year.  When they got back to Wales they had another son, Albert Edward (b. 1902).  In 1911, the family was living at 108 Moss Lane, Hale, Altrincham, Cheshire.  William was working as a storekeeper and Herbert was still at school.  Herbert’s parents later moved to Liverpool – 25 Ling Street, Kensington – and he may have been living there when he enlisted.

 

Herbert was just 18 when he enlisted in Liverpool in the Royal Field Artillery.  He was assigned service number 681422 and posted to “D” Battery of 286 Brigade.  He must have been a resourceful lad and a capable soldier as he was promoted to Bombardier.  In June 1917, 286 Bde were engaged in the defence of Armenitères.  At 6.30am on 30 June one enemy shell penetrated a gun pit of D/286Bde.  The gun was damaged, 5 O/Rs were killed and 1 wounded.  Herbert Wilson was among the dead.  He was 20 years old.

 

Rank:  Bombardier

Service Number:  681422

Date of Death:  30/06/1917

Age:  20

Regiment/Service:  Royal Field Artillery, “D” Bty., 286Bde (CWGC records “B” Bty, but Soldiers’ Effects says “D” and I believe this to be correct).

Cemetery/memorial reference: VIII. B. 20.

Cemetery:  CITE BONJEAN MILITARY CEMETERY, ARMENTIERES

Additional Information:  Son of William and Eleanor Rose Wilson, of 25 Ling Street, Kensington, Liverpool.

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