Private William John Townsend was killed in action on 18th October 1918, serving with the 18th (Lancashire Hussars) Battalion of The King’s (Liverpool Regiment). He was the youngest of the four children (two sons, two daughters) of parents, John (a waggoner) and Harriet (née Price) who had married in Bickenhill in 1888. Both of the boys died on active service as William’s elder brother, George, a Lance Corporal with the same regiment as William, was killed in July 1918.
Born in Tile Cross in 1895, William had moved with his parents to Sheldon Lane, Lyndon End by 1911 and was working as a farm labourer. His brother, George (1893-1918) and their sisters, Ada (born 1889) and Annie (born 1890) had all left the family home by 1911.
William joined the Army in January 1915 and spent two years eight months in Salonica before being posted to France in July 1918. An article in the Birmingham Mail 13th December 1918 refers to him as having been missing since 18th October 1918.
He is buried at Le Cateau Military Cemetery, and is commemorated locally on war memorials at Olton and Sheldon.
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Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
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