William Homer attended Cradley C of E School but was living in Quarry Bank by the time he joined the army. He probably volunteered for the Worcester Territorials and went with the second line battalion to France in 1916. By 1918 he had been transferred to the 3rd Battalion and had been promoted to Lance Corporal. This battalion suffered severely in the German Spring offensives of 1918 and was driven back in both the April attack in Flanders and the May attack on the Aisne. While reorganising on the Aisne after the April battle they were caught by the fourth German offensive. On the 20th May they were in the village of Lhery alongside the 10th Worcesters and were faced by waves of fresh German troops. Attacked from the flank as well as the front they were seriously outnumbered and fell back. As they retreated across the bare ridge behind the village, they were exposed to heavy enemy artillery. Brave men were required to hold off the German infantry and one of these was William Homer. He was the only one left with a Lewis gun and helped to cover the retreat. He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. The citation, as published in the London Gazette on the 3rd October 1918, reads: For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty while in command of a Lewis gun section. Three times he was blown up by shell fire, and the rest of his section became casualties, but he continued to fire his gun and inflicted heavy loss on the enemy. During the withdrawal he remained behind, giving covering fire for his company. Throughout his personal disregard for danger was splendid. By August the Worcesters were ready for action again and took part in the Advance to Victory. They were posted near Neuve Chapelle and in preparation for the critical assault on the Hindenburg Line they attacked a strong German redoubt near Port Arthur on the 25th. It was eventually captured under artillery bombardment but twelve men were killed. Among them was Lance Corporal William Homer. He is buried in Le Touret Cemetery (IV H 3) and is commemorated on the Cradley, Halesowen, Quarry Bank and Cradley C of E School Memorials.
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