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681623 GNR. W. R. NORTHALL.  R.F.A.


William Richard Northall was born in the first quarter of 1896 in Newton Heath, Manchester.  His father was William Henry Northall (b. 1870 in Staveley, Derbyshire), one time coal hewer but later assurance assessor.  His mother was Fanny Chapman (b. 1870 in Killamarsh, Derbyshire).  William Henry and Fanny were married in 1891 and they had three children: Florence (b. 1892), then William, then Agnes (b.1900).  In 1911, the family was living at 59 Porter Road, Derby, and William jnr had begun work as a milk dealer.  I don’t know the circumstances, but William moved to Wolverhampton, where he met and married Violet Worrall (b. 1892 in Wolverhampton).  Violet worked in a steam laundry.  They married in 1914 when William was still only 18.


William enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery in Wolverhampton.  His service number was 681623.  This falls in a group of about 30 men who all enlisted in Wolverhampton (nos. 681595-681625) and were all posted initially at least to “B” Battery in 286 Brigade.  I think this may indicate that they enlisted after conscription was introduced in 1916 and recruitment to particular battalions and brigades was less geographically restricted.


On 6 and 7 July 1917, “B” Battery was heavily shelled by the enemy, including some gas shells.  Several men from the Battery were wounded.  William Northall died of wounds at 54th Casualty Clearing Station, near Estaires and not far from Armentières, on 7 July.  He was 21 years old.


Rank:  Gunner

Service No:  681623

Date of Death:  07/07/1917

Age:  21

Regiment/Service:  Royal Field Artillery, “B” Bty, 286 Bde.

Cemetery/memorial reference: IV. A. 7.


Additonal Information:  Son of William and Fanny Northall, of Manchester; husband of Violet Northall, of 30 St. George's Road, Coventry.


Violet did not re-marry after the War.  She died in Coventry in 1974.

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