William Henry Warren
Date of birth: 1895
Date of death: 7.6.1917
Regiment: King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Family information: Son of Robert William Bonser Warren and Jane nee Wood
Service number: 200645
William enlisted and became Private 200645 in the KOYLI 8th Battalion and on 16th September 1916 the Wakefield Express carried the following report:
“Mrs J Hudson of Wheel Hill, Wrenthorpe received information on Tuesday that her son Private W H Warren was in hospital in France suffering from wounds in the head, left forearm, right hand and thigh”.
He must have recovered to fight again as he cropped up in the paper on July 28th 1917:
“Private Edgar Calvert KOSB, Jerry Clay Lane, Wrenthorpe and Private Benjamin Warren, Northumberland Fusiliers, Wheel Hill, Wrenthorpe are both officially reported as wounded and missing. Private William Henry Warren (brother to Benjamin), KOYLI is also officially reported as missing”.
The family must have had a terrible wait as it wasn’t until 13th October that the following was published, again in the Express.
“Private William Henry Warren, KOYLI, Wheel Hill, Wrenthorpe, was reported missing from June 7th last but the worst is feared. The Vicar of Wrenthorpe has been making enquiries from the authorities and the report he has received is that “on 7th June the Germans were shelling heavily on the Ypres front. Warren was a Lewis gunner and was killed by a shell. To a comrade who had been close to him he said “This place is too hot for me” and moved a few yards away. His comrade saw the shell kill him, not more than 7 minutes having elapsed since they separated”.
The Battalion war diary reports a move “from “M” Camp to Battle Concentration Area in ST PETER’S St Tunnels” on the evening of the 4th. On 7th June it goes on to say “Second Army offensive begun by explosion of mines at HILL 60 and THE CATAPILLAR at 3.10am”. It was during these exchanges that William lost his life – one of 250 ordinary soldiers that were casualties between 7th to the 10th June.
Even then it was the 5th January edition before the Wakefield Express announced that the family had received official confirmation that he was “presumed to have died”. The paper reported he was single and worked at Lofthouse Colliery.
The Register of Soldiers Effects records William Henry’s death on 7th June 1917 and he left his effects to his mother, Jane. He was awarded the Victory and British War Medals and is remembered on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.
William and Benjamin (see account of Benjamin Warren) Warren were the sons of Jane (nee Wood) and Robert William Bonser Warren. William was born in 1895 (and baptised at St Anne’s on 25th December of that year). Sadly their father died in 1899 and the following year Jane married James Hudson. The family was said to live at Wheel Hill in the 1901 census and Bragg Lane End in the 1911 census, where in the latter both brothers were pony drivers in the colliery. They now had two step brothers Ernest (b 1902) and John (b 1905) and had lost a step sister who had died aged 4.