Submitted by Pam Reed – William was her first cousin once removed.
William Billam was born Robert William Beckwith Earsdon in Jarrow on 17 September 1893. By 1906 his mother and stepfather Elizabeth and George Billam had moved to Hinderwell, 8 miles north of Whitby. In 1911 William was living with them and had taken his stepfather’s surname of Billam. In 1913 William married Ada Simpson and continued to live in the same village. On the outbreak of the First World War he enlisted on 15 August 1914 at Whitby as 12122 Private Billam in the 11th Reserve Cavalry Regiment. However on 1 November 1914 he was discharged as ‘being unlikely to make an efficient soldier’.
Having failed to make the grade in the cavalry, he promptly volunteered for the infantry . At the end of 1914 he enlisted again at Whitby as 18687 Private Billam in the 2nd Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment.
William was killed on 1st July 1916, first day of the Battle of the Somme. He was buried in the Dantzig Alley British Cemetary in Mametz along with 2052 other British soldiers. His name is on the Hinderwell War Memorial.
He left a widow and 2 year old daughter.
Extract from the Whitby Gazette Friday 18 August 1916 as follows:-
Killed in action on July 1st. Private William Billam, aged 22 years. He was the first to enlist from Hinderwell on August 15th 1914. “His country called and he answered”
Explore more memories from the ribbon
In October 1915 Geoffrey Howard Smith was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 5th Battalion from being a member of the ranks of the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps (O.T.C.). At that time he was probably based at the O.T.C. training camp at Berkhamsted Common Hertfordshire. In August 1916 he is listed as wounded in France. He recovers from his wounds but in June 1918 he is listed as missing then confirmed as a prisoner of war in September 1918. Smith remained in captivity until his release and return to England in January 1919. This event is recognised by a letter sent to him from King George V.
Submitted by Andrew Fynn. William John Blore was my Great Grandfather and was born in Leeds in 1877. He enlisted in the Yorkshire Regiment as a private in July 1894. His initial service was in India with the 2nd Battalion, during which his daughter Louisa Doris tragically died. More tragedy ensued in 1906 as his wife died after giving birth to his daughter Kathleen at Richmond. He did re-marry and seems to have left the army prior to 1909 when he was known to be a postman. As his military record is lost it’s unclear how he came to be back in service so we assume he must have volunteered and became part of the 6th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment (the Green Howards) in August 1914 as Company Sergeant-Major. On 3 July 1915, the 6th Battalion sailed from Liverpool on board the Aquitania, bound for the Dardanelles campaign. On 6 August 1915, the 6th Battalion embarked for Gallipoli and the landing and attack at Suvla Bay. At 23.00 hrs, following the landing at Suvla Bay, he was part of the attack on Lala Baba Hill, the first ‘Kitchener unit’ to be involved in a major offensive operation of the war. The attack eventually cleared the hill of the Turks but not before they inflicted serious casualties on the attackers which, unfortunately, included William, only hours into his first action. His body wasn’t found in the aftermath of the action and he is commemorated at the Helles memorial. His role at Gallipoli…
Submitted by Paul Elliott. Many people will, no doubt, have the same experience as myself, in that my grandparents and parents never discussed or talked about their war experiences. Arthur Dobson was a Great Uncle of whom I was totally unaware. He was born in 1896 and lived with his parents, Benjamin and Emily at Commercial Street, Rothwell, Leeds. He was a miner. He joined the Kings Own Yorkshire Light infantry as 37722 Private Dobson and went to France in September 1915 with the 9th Battalion. They were active at the Battle of the Somme and Arthur was posted as missing in September 1916. His parents twice put appeals for information about him in the Yorkshire Evening Post. He was eventually found to have been killed in action on September 16th 1916. He is commemorated on Rothwell war memorial and at Thiepval. He was 20 when he died.