WARD, William

Worcestershire. 07 June 1917

William Ward was born at Bishops Frome, Herefordshire and later lived at 18 Vicarage Road, Wollaston. He attended Hasbury school at Halesowen and had worked for a Halesowen farmer. Prior to enlistment he was employed by Mr R. J. Guest, the building contractor. He volunteered for the Worcesters in 1915 and was posted to the 3rd Battalion in the 25th Division. They were heavily involved during the 1916 Battle of the Somme at Aveluy Wood, Ovillers and the Ancre Heights. They spent the early months of 1917 in the trenches south of Ypres preparing for an attack on the Messines Ridge, where the German position overlooked much of the British front line in Artois. On the evening of 6 June the Worcesters moved to the front line by 9.30 p.m. ready to lead the attack. There was steady shelling during the night and at 3.10 a.m. 19 great mines were set off. The troops were briefly paralysed by the noise and the dust, but then rushed off under a barrage of British shells to seize the German line. B and C Companies led the way and within seven minutes this objective had been won, the demoralised Germans either surrendering or killed. As dawn came, the troops began to see the view of the plain below them, stretching along the ridge to Messines and into the distance as far as Menin. As they began to dig in, it was clear that, for the battalion as well as for the Division, this was an entirely successful attack and the Germans had been driven off the ridge. However, the Worcesters' losses were high, the great majority caused by enemy shelling. Among the wounded was Private William Ward, who was taken to a Casualty Clearing Station at Bailleul. He died of wounds on the 7th June 1917 and is buried in Bailleul Communal Extension Cemetery (III C 247). He was 21 years of age and he is commemorated on the Stourbridge, St. Thomas's church, Wollaston church and Hasbury school Memorials. His brother, Richard, died on the 16th June 1918.

Commemorated at:

Halesowen Hasbury C of E School

Halesowen Hasbury C of E School

Hagley Road, Halesowen, West Midlands B63 4QD

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