William Billam

Timelines: Ribbon of Remembrance William Billam
Announcement Date: October 26, 2018

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”

Return to the ribbon

Explore more memories from the ribbon

  • Henry Jesse Richardson

    Paul Goad of Frenchgate told us about his Great-Uncle, Henry Jesse Richardson. Henry was born in March 1889 in Hailsham, East Sussex, where he lived prior to enlistment. In the 1911 census he gave his profession as Mat Making, his Father William, being a Mat Weaver at that time. Hailsham had a vibrant string, twine and rope based industry at the time from which they gained their employment. Henry enlisted in 1916 at Purfleet and joined the 13th London Regiment (Princess Louise’s Kensington Battalion). Henry’s Service medal and Award Rolls show that he served on the Western Front from September 1st 1916 until his death on August 16th 1917 at the Battle of Langemarck. During his time in theatre Henry’s Battalion were in action at the Battles of Ginchy, Flers-Courcelette and Morval in 1916 and the Second Battle of Arras in 1917. Henry’s burial spot is at Ypres, Arrondissement Ieper, West Flanders Belgium. He is also remembered on the roll of Hailsham War Memorial.

  • Robert Baden Powell

    Submitted by Neil Duncan of the 8th Darlington (Cockerton Green) Scout Group. Lieutenant-General Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell, OM, GCMG, GCVO, KCB, DL was born in 1857 and had a long and illustrious military career, as well as having a profound impact on civilian life for generations of young people. Baden-Powell spent most of his military service in India and Africa where he honed his Scouting skills and began writing training manuals which would later be the basis for the Scouting Movement from 1908. One of his most famous commands was during the Seige of Mafeking in 1899 when a small garrison held out for 277 days and a ‘Cadet Force’ was drawn up take over small but important jobs to allow the adults to fight. These Cadets gain an honourable mention in the opening chapter of Scouting For Boys. He returned to England to take up a post as Inspector-General of Cavalry in 1903. From 1908-10 he was in command of the Northern Territorial Army. During this appointment, Baden-Powell selected the location of Catterick Garrison to replace Richmond Castle which was then the Headquarters of the Northumbrian Division. His plan was brought to fruition following the outbreak of the First World War. The original concept was for a temporary camp to accommodate 2 complete divisions, 40,000 single men in 2,000 huts. On the outbreak of World War I in 1914, at the age of fifty-seven, Baden-Powell put himself at the disposal of the War Office. Lord Kitchener…

  • Erasmus Darwin

    Erasmus Darwin was born on the 7th December 1881 in Cambridge and lived at ‘The Orchard’. He was the only son of Horace Darwin FRS (Fellow of the Royal Society) who was Chairman of the Cambridge Scientific Society. He was also the grandson of the famous naturalist Charles Darwin. Erasmus was educated at Horris Hill School near Newbury and at Marlborough. He then went on to Trinity College, Cambridge University to study Mathematics. On leaving Cambridge he worked at Mather and Platts in Manchester, a hydraulics and pump engineering company. He then moved on to work for Bolckow, Vaughn & Co Ltd Iron and Steel in Middlesbrough, whereby, at the outbreak of the war he was Secretary of the Company. He lived at the time at Saltburn on the north east Yorkshire coast. As soon as war broke out he joined up and was gazetted on the 12th September 1914 as a 2nd Lieutenant the 4th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. Apparently just before he left England he was summoned to the War Office and offered a Staff appointment at home in connection to munitions work. Though the work was important he opted to stay with his unit making the case that there were plenty of older men equally qualified for the work. The 4th Battalion arrived in France on the 18th April 1915 and were straight away into the 2nd Ypres offensive which started on the 22nd April. The Battalion was involved in the Battle of St Julien in the heart…