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M.8

Grave photoWilliam Henry Chattaway William Henry Chattaway was born in Hill Wootton in February 1886, one of eight children of Joseph and Catherine Chattaway (nee Fell). One of his brothers was Alfred Chattaway whose name is inscribed on the Roll of Honour, having returned safely from the war. William was baptised in March at Leek Wootton church, and after a brief residence in Warwick Road Kenilworth, the family moved to Stoneleigh. They lived at 3, Hudson's Bridge, one of the four cottages now known as Motslow Cottage, and in 1901 the fifteen-year-old William was employed as a sexton's assistant, perhaps digging graves. By 1911, at the age of 25, William was a domestic chauffeur, still living at home with his parents, and Cordelia Leigh remarked in 1916 that he was under-chauffeur at the abbey. It is difficult to know why William joined the 12th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers as Private 28102, enlisting in Newcastle; how and why he found himself there is unknown. No service record exists to tell us of William's movements with his battalion, but they arrived in France in September 1915 and were thrown into reserve for the battle of Loos, where they sustained heavy losses. It was to be during the Battle of the Somme, however, in July 1916, that William lost his life. At the outset of the battle on July 1st the 12th Battalion were carrying supplies and ammunition to forward brigades but were moved up the line during the night of the 2nd. On the night of July 3rd they were in an attack on Shelter Wood, where there were heavy losses as a result of machine gun fire from the enemy. There was even hand-to-hand fighting, and later that night intense fire from German 15cm Howitzers. At first William Henry Chattaway was recorded as missing, and Cordelia Leigh made enquiries of the Red Cross on behalf of his family. His body was never found for identification, however, and his name is one of over 72,000 soldiers inscribed on the Memorial to the Missing at Thiepval, on Pier/face 10/11/12B.

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