Sunday, October 27, 2013

Lance-corporal William Bolton 2390

William Bolton

The CWGC had 17 results for William Bolton. I could rule out 14 of them from the information on the certificates (born and lived in places other than Liverpool) The three that were left were from different parts of Liverpool, one was from Everton, the other two from the Toxteth Park area. I have selected the William Bolton who was in the area nearest to the Church, during his life he lived in the same street as several of the other names on the memorial. Also, when I researched their births, the other William had a middle name (llewellin) which doesn't match the name on this memorial.

Family Information
William was born on 24th November 1894 and baptised in St Michael's Church, Toxteth, on 30th December 1894. The baptismal record shows his parents to be Richard and Margaret Bolton who lived at 29 White Street. Richard was a Ship Smith.

In the 1901 census the family lived at 13 Geraint Street. The census return shows us that Richard was born in Newton-in-Furness and Margaret in Liverpool.  Margaret’s widowed father was living with them, James Brown, aged 71 and a retired mariner from Scotland.

Richard and Margaret had 5 children living with them in 1901:
Esther (daughter) single, aged 21, tailoress, born Liverpool.
Margaret (daughter) single, aged 18, assistant in shop, born Liverpool.
Annie (daughter) single, aged 14, dressmaker apprentice, born Liverpool
Richard (son) single, aged 9, born Liverpool
William, (son) single, aged 6, born Liverpool.

In the 1911 census the family lived at 45 Gwendoline St, this is the street next to Geraint Street where they lived in 1901.  Margaret completed the census return, she listed herself as Head of the family and married, the census return shows that she had been married for 35 years (which means she married aged 18) and had 6 surviving children from 8 born. In 1911 Margaret was working as an office cleaner for the railway.
At home with Margaret were:
Esther, aged 31, single, sewing machinist for a tailor
Margaret, aged 28, single, shop assistant for a dairy
Richard, aged 19, single, freight clerk for a shipping office
William, aged 16, single, cooper’s apprentice

Also there was James Brown, a nephew, aged 22, single and an unemployed ‘printer’s machine man’

Military Information 

William's service records survive and show us that he volunteered early in the war, signing up on 10th September 1914 for 4 years service. He served with the 6th Battalion The King's Liverpool Regiment (The Rifles) with the regimental number 2390.

His attestation papers show that William was 19 years and 10 months of age when he enlisted. 
The medical report shows that William was 5ft 9 and 1/2 inches tall and weighed 127lbs, his vision was good and his physical development was good.
William listed his family members as his mother, brother Richard, sisters Esther and Margaret all living at 14 Hemans Street and his sister Isabella (Jameson) living at 80 Madryn Street.

Details of rank:
Rifleman 10/9/14 to 30/10/14
Sergt 31/10/14 to 7/5/15
Rifleman 8/8/15 to 23/1/16 (rank reduced at own request)
Lance corporal 24/1/16 to 15/8/16

William's total service towards engagement in the territorial force to 15/8/16 (date of death) was 1 year and 341 days. 
Death in consequence of gunshot wound head

His record shows that he was wounded in action (gunshot wound head) on 9/8/16 and died 6 days later at 1st Gen Hospital, Abbeville

The Battalion Casualty Ledger (available at the Maritime Museum Archives, Liverpool) give the following information:

Wounded in action 9/8/1916
Admitted 13 corps main dressing station 9/8/1916
Admitted 21 casualty clearing station 9/8/1916
Admitted number 1 South African General Hospital 15/8/1916 (gunshot wound head, penetrating brain) died 15/8/1916)

Transcription of William’s  Medal Index Card.
(A) Where decoration was earned.
(B) Present situation
Reg. No.
Roll on which included (if any)
“  “
Action taken


Theatre of War

(1) France
Qualifying date


Details of death

The 6th KLR battalion war diary for the day that William was wounded gives the following information:
"C" Coy took over the new advanced trench from 5th Liverpools. Battalion bombers manning COCHRANE ALLEY. "A" and "B" companies in close support. There was considerable hostile shelling this day, particularly of all support trenches. At night "A" company received orders to join up the left of new advanced front line with the previous front line. Hostile machine gun and rifle fire prevented this being successfully accomplished. Casualties: 2 officers wounded; other ranks nine killed and 48 wounded. 2/Lt Adam with balance of Battalion Bombers reinforced  the block in COCHRANE's ALLEY at night

UK Soldiers Died in the Great War
Name: William Bolton
Residence: Liverpool
Death Date: 15 Aug 1916
Death Location: France & Flanders
Enlistment Location: Liverpool
Rank: L/Corporal
Regiment: King’s (Liverpool Regiment)
Battalion: 6th Battalion
Number: 2390
Type of casualty: Died of Wounds
Theatre of War: Western European Theatre


The following information about the inscription on the family grave  was found thanks to  the ToxtethParkCemeteryInscriptions website

Consecrated section 14, grave number 539

In memory of
 Richard BOLTON, 
died 24th Jany 1907, aged 57.
 Also his dear wife 
 died 28th May 1934, aged 80. 
 Our dear mother. 
 Also of Annie, their daughter 
 died 15th Dec. 1916, aged 30. 
 Also of William, their son 
 died of wounds at Abbeville,
 France, 15th Aug. 1916, aged 21. 
 Also of Richard, their son 
 died 29th April 1934, aged 43. 
 Steadfast. Immovable. 
 Always abounding in the works of the Lord.

William Bolton was also commemorated on the memorial currently in St Cleopas Church, Toxteth.

copyright Amanda Taylor 2013

His name was also added to the Roll of Honour in Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, on the day I visited it last his name happened to be on the open page:

copyright Amanda Taylor 2012

copyright Amanda Taylor 2012

Reported in the Liverpool Daily Post Monday 11th September 1916

Lance-Corporal William Bolton, KLR, died from wounds. Educated at St James's School, Toxteth, he joined at an early age the 10th company of the Boy's Brigade. His work in the brigade never ceased and, in addition, he was treasurer of St James's Sunday Schools, leader of St James's Junior Bible Class and organist of St James's children's evening service. At the time war broke out he was an apprentice cooper at Messrs Dodd, Stanhope-street. He joined the Liverpool Regiment in September 1914 and went to France twelve months ago. His death is mourned by a large circle of friends and the greatest sympathy is felt for his widowed mother, brother and sisters. Lance-Corporal Bolton was in his twenty-second year.

Family notices in the Liverpool Echo:
I have found several entries for William Bolton in the family notices of the local paper.

22nd August 1916
BOLTON – August 15, died from wounds received in action, Lance-Corporal William Bolton (Willie) (Liverpool Rifles)
Somewhere in France lies a hero’s grave,
Who answered to the call:
He did his duty nobly and well
Until the day to fall.
That he may rest in his lonely grave
Until the second call,
Is the sacred wish of all at home
And his shopmates one and all. –A Rogers
- Inserted by his Foreman and Workmates

24th November 1916
BOLTON – In loving birthday remembrance of my beloved chum, William Bolton, who died for his country. August 15th 1916 and who celebrates his 22nd birthday in the “Soldiers’ Paradise” to-day. (The best chum a fellow ever had. Our friendship is eternal, pal o’mine) – George M Spargo, Parent, Northern Quebec, Canada.

[Parent is a town in Canada, not his relationship to William!]

15th August 1917
BOLTON – In proud and loving memory of my beloved chum, Lance-corporal Wm. Bolton, who died for his country, August 15, 1916. (Linked in friendship and love with me for ever.)- Sergt. George Spargo, 235th Canadians, Ramsgate.

15th August 1917
BOLTON – In sad and loving memory of my beloved brother, Willie, Lance-corporal K.L.R., who died August 15, 1916, of wounds received in action.
One of the first to volunteer – a sacrifice supreme.
We cannot yet realise his death, it seems such a hateful dream;
Though we understand God’s mercy in taking him to rest,
The parting gave great anguish to those who loved him best.
- His loving sister Maggie and Brother-in-law Ted (in France)

15th August 1917
BOLTON – In loving memory of my beloved brother, Lance-corporal W. Bolton (Willie) K.L.R. who died of wounds at Abbeville Hospital, France, August 15, 1916.
What peaceful hours I once enjoyed,
How sweet their memory still;
But they have left an aching void
The world can never fill.
-         His loving sister Esther, Hemans-street, Liverpool

3rd December 1917
BOLTON – In loving memory of Annie, the dearly beloved youngest daughter of Margaret Bolton, died December 3, 1916, sister of the late Lance-corporal William Bolton, died August 15, 1916.
Father in thy gracious keeping,
Leave we now our loved ones sleeping.
-         Mother and family, 14 Hemans-street

 15th August 1918
BOLTON – in proud and loving memory of my beloved chum, Lance-Corporal WILLIAM BOLTON, who died at Abbeville, August 15, 1916.

Yet love, my love that is deathless,

Can follow you where you roam;

Over the hills of God, laddie,

The beautiful hills of home.
Sergeant G.M. Spargo, Mourat Hospital, Kingston, Canada

These notices show a strong friendship between William Bolton and George Spargo.  A look at the Canadian Expeditionary Force papers for Sergt Spargo show that he was born 21st May 1893 in Wales, his next of kin was his mother Annie Spargo in Arundel Street, Liverpool. Oddly though, a look at the 1911 census shows Annie Spargo in Arundel Street with all of her 7 children, the son of the correct age to be Sergeant Spargo is named Thomas George Spargo.

Checking the passenger lists shows that T.G Spargo sailed from Liverpool to Montreal on the Virginian on 13th May 1914. George had previously served in the English Territorials and he attested on 4th December 1916. He survived the war, although the mention of Mourat Hospital on the final notice may mean he was wounded.

The fact that William’s workmates also placed a notice for him is also an indication of how well-liked he was.

CWGC commemoration

William Bolton is buried in section VI plot J1 of Abbeville Communal Cemetery. You can click here to view his entry on the CWGC website.
His family paid to have the following added to his CWGC headstone:
Steadfast, Immovable, Always Abounding in the Work of The Lord.
This is a quote from the Bible, 1 Corinthians, the following line is "knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain"
Abbeville Communal Cemetery. (copyright CWGC)

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