William Dukes was the son of Mark and Maria Dukes of 58 Lyde Green, Cradley, and attended Cradley CE school. He enlisted in the South Staffordshire Regiment but, probably after returning from convalescence, he was transferred to the Hampshire Regiment to serve in the 14th (Service) Battalion. They fought on the Somme in 1916 and were in the front line for the opening of Third Ypres on the 31st July 1917. The Hampshires were among those ordered to capture the Pilkem Ridge. But the attackers were frustrated by the early mist and the determination of the defenders. The ridge was eventually gained but Lance Corporal William Dukes was killed in action. He was 21 years of age and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot, Cradley, Halesowen and Cradley school Memorials.
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