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William Ibbeson

Date of birth: 1893
Date of death: 26.8.1916
Area: Kirkhamgate
Regiment: King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Family information: Son of Henry and Sarah Anne
Rank: Private
Service number: 19905

War Service

William joined the colours and arrived in France on 17th June 1915. On August 12th 1916 they had just had a period of rest and training and were ordered to march to Pommiers Redoubt. The war diary records what the battalion saw as they approached – “The sights coming up were extraordinary. All the villages absolutely flattened and the trenches obliterated.” The battalion set about providing working parties in support of the battalions at the front line, for example to supply the men with rations and ammunition while they were fighting, which in itself was dangerous. On the night of 15th August, they were ordered into the trenches at Longueval. The battalion suffered casualties both in the trenches from shells and when patrols were on reconnoitre and even on a couple of occasions being shelled by their own guns! The heavy exchanges continued and William was wounded on 18th August.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission states that Private W Ibbeson 19905 KOYLI 6th Battalion died of his wounds on 26th August 1916 aged 23 and that he was the son of Mrs S A Ibbeson of 9, Commonside, East Ardsley. The Register of Soldiers’ Effects said he died in the General Hospital, Boulogne and that his next of kin was his mother. He was entitled to the 14/15 Star as well as the Victory and British War Medals and is buried in the Boulogne Eastern Cemetery. He is remembered on the Wrenthorpe St Anne’s Memorial but strangely not on the Wrenthorpe Colliery Memorial or Kirkhamgate despite his memorial service being held there.
In the Wakefield Express 18th November 1916:
“KIRKHAMGATE A memorial service was held at St Mary’s Mission Church on Thursday afternoon for Private Arthur William Ibberson KOYLI who died of wounds on August 26th. He was unmarried, 23 years of age and before joining the Army was employed at Newton Pit.”
William’s brother Walter also enlisted with the Royal Horse Artillery in 1915. He had been a pony driver in Wrenthorpe pit previously so had experience of working with animals. He was posted to France in February 1916 but by January 1917 was in hospital with epilepsy. He was transferred to the labour corps and then discharged and returned back to Common Lane, East Ardsley in 1918.
If one searches the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for men with the surname Ibbeson only two records are found. One is William killed in the First World War and the other record is John Ibbeson who was killed in the Second World War. John is William’s youngest brother who was born in 1910. He had married Ivy Parker Thewlis in 1936 and had two children – Norman who died as a baby and Christine. John enlisted during WW2 with the Royal Engineers number 2154578. He died in Italy on 9th April 1945 aged 35 and is remembered on the Cassino Memorial.

Family Life

William Arthur Ibbeson was baptised at St Anne’s on 25th December 1893, his parents being Henry and Sarah Anne of Bragg Lane End. Henry was a miner.
The 1901 census shows William living at his grandmother’s house in Barnsley with his father Henry and 5-year-old sister Minnie. His mother Sarah is living in Wrenthorpe as housekeeper for William Brook. She has her 3-year-old son Walter living with her.
By 1911 Sarah Ann was back with her family who were living at 12 Milton Street, Barnsley. William was a glass hand at the glass factory while his father was still a miner. William had two more siblings Thomas aged 4 and John aged 1. Minnie had been entered into this census but had then been crossed out. She was actually to be found in the census of the Dr Barnardo’s Girls’ Village in Barkingside, Ilford, Essex. This was a home run by Dr Barnardo’s wife where homeless young girls often plucked from the streets of London were cared for and given an education and training. She returns to Barnsley at some point, however, as she was married there in 1925 aged 30.
William had a rather chequered career from 1911 having at least 10 criminal convictions between June 1911 and November 1913. Most of the convictions seem to suggest he was homeless. His first conviction was illegible but in August 1911 aged 18 and according to the record working as a “glasshand”, he was given a month’s hard labour for “lodging out”. The following month he was convicted of stealing money and in November of the same year he was convicted of vagrancy. The following year he had convictions for stealing a watch (3 months in prison) and vagrancy. On 28th May and the 16th October 1913, he was convicted of loitering, with a sentence of 3 months or fine of 18 shillings and on 20th November 1913 he was convicted of “sleeping out”. According to the prison records he was 5 feet 3 and three-quarter inches with brown hair and class three education.
William’s father Henry died in 1914 and according to a researcher on he died in the Workhouse Infirmary, Barnsley. Perhaps William turned over a new leaf as between then and his death in France he had been working at Newton Pit.

Boulogne Eastern Cemetery with rows of gravestones laid flat into the ground Boulogne Eastern Cemetery

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