30-year-old Private William Thomas Badger was the first person on the Catherine-de-Barnes war memorial to be killed in the war. He died at No. 10 Casualty Clearing Station of wounds sustained at Mount Sorrel, Belgium and is buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery. He was serving as a Private with the 3rd Battalion Canadian Pioneers, having emigrated to Canada by 1906.
William Thomas Badger was born in Birmingham on 23rd November 1885 to parents Thomas and Ellen (née Clayton). His uncle, William Badger, lived at Ravenshaw Farm, and 15-year-old William Thomas was living there with his aunt and uncle in 1901. He is believed to have attended Catherine-de-Barnes School as a child.
By 1906, William had emigrated to Canada. He seems to have returned to England in October 1908, married in Warwickshire in 1909, and returned in February 1910 with his wife, Clara, and three-month-old daughter, Annie Ellen, who seems to have been known by her middle name.
In 1911, he was working as a farm labourer and living in Moosejaw, Saskatchewan, with his wife and their one-year-old daughter, who was recorded as Helen. It seems that the couple had another daughter, Edith, in 1913/14.
When William enlisted on 16th August 1915, he gave his occupation as engineer. His wife, Clara, returned to England on 22nd March 1916 arriving at Liverpool, aboard the Pretorian, with two small children, Annie E. (aged 5) and two-year-old Edith A. The ship’s manifest reports her destination as Small Heath, Birmingham.
William died of wounds on 14th June 1916 and it seems that his widow remained in England after his death. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission database records her as living in Small Heath c. 1921, although probate suggest she had moved to Nuthurst by 1924. William Thomas Badger is commemorated locally on war memorials at Catherine-de-Barnes and Solihull.
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