Rifleman William Winkworth

Thank you to Molly Worsfold and Tim Dumas from St. Bartholomew Church in Leigh for allowing Dorking Museum to reproduce their research. Thank you to Jane Anthony for the additional research.

William Winkworth was one of six children of Thomas Percy and Mary-Ann Winkworth. Like his four sisters and brother, he was born in Winchester in 1884. His father was a butcher.

He married Bessie Arnold at Kingwood in 1909. In the 1911 census they were still living with them and Bessie’s brother James was lodging with them. Bessie and her brother had been born in Norfolk. William was working as a baker in the Leigh Bakery. In 1913, William and Bessie lived at Shepherd’s Cottage in Dawes Green, they had a child who died at birth.

He enlisted in the 4th Battalion The Rifle Bridge. The Battalion had been in India at the outbreak of the war but had returned to Winchester, where William had enlisted, and were deployed to France in December 1914. It seems likely that he enlisted in the Rifle Brigade due to their connection with the place he was born and brought up.

William was wounded in 1915, and came home to recover. In due course it seems he was ordered back to France. He told his friend Mr F. G. Flint of Forge Cottage, Leigh that he thought he would not survive the war.

He was killed in action on 10th May 1915, and was killed at Ypres where he is commemorated. At the time of his death his widow Bessie was living at Nutley Lane, Reigate and his father in Ashford Kent.

Bessie remained in touch with Mr. Flint, but moved to Feltwell in Norfolk where she originally came from. She died there in 1975, but was in touch with Mr. R. D. Livermore; Mr. Flint’s grandson until his death.

Born Winchester, Hampshire
Son of Thomas Percy and Mary-Ann Winkworth
Husband of Bessie Winkworth of 5, Nutley Lane, Reigate, Surrey
Regiment 4th Battalion. Rifle Brigade
Number 9432
Date of Death 10th May 1915
Place of Death Ypres, Belgium
Cause of Death Killed in Action
Age 31
Memorial Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial
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