27194 5/6th Bn., Royal Scots Regiment who died on 26 August 1917

Family History

The name Weston is an old and prolific one in Oadby. At the beginning of the 20th Century there were two branches of the family, one based around King Street and London Road and the second based around East Street and ‘up the fields’ along Regent and Spencer Street. Four Westons are mentioned on the Oadby War Memorial as having fallen in the Great War and there were many more who served.

William Weston, born in 1881, belonged to the ‘Kingy’ Westons. His father was Thomas Weston and his mother was Mary Elizabeth (nee Letts). In 1901 the family, including Tom 22, William 20, Annie 18, John L 16, Maude 10, Harry 8 and Elizabeth 5, were living on London Rd, Oadby. Thomas and William were named as bricklayers. William also had an older brother Lewis who by 1911 had married and was living in Long St, Wigston.  On 12 June 1905 William married Minnie Hunt from Rothwell in Northamptonshire.

By 1911 William, now 30 and described as a Shoe hand and Edge Setter, and Minnie were living at 4 King St, Oadby. Their children at the time were James William 5, Henry Horace 3, Herbert 2 and Annie 0. By 1916 they had had a further 3 children.

King Street, Oadby shortly before demolition.

 

Military Service

As a 35 year old father of seven, William did not enlist until legally obliged to do so. This was under the Derby Scheme in late 1915. William was required to attest to his willingness to serve which he did on 11 December 1915.  He was allocated a service number of 5171 and placed on reserve until ordered to appear at Glen Parva Barracks on 23 October 1916. He remained in training at Glen Parva for seven months and was presumably able to visit his family in Oadby. Between April and May 1917 he was late for evening roll call three times and confined to barracks for a total of six days.

On 3 June 1917 William left Folkstone for Boulogne and arrived at the 21st Infantry Base Depot in Etaples on 4 June. He was transferred to the Royal Scots Regiment and issued with a new service number, 270194. William joined the 5/6 Battalion in the field on 29 June.

Map showing the Nieuport and Lombartzyde area on the Flanders coast to the north of the Ypres Salient

The ruins and devastated landscape of Nieuport in the Lombardzyte sector, showing the destroyed drainage channels on the bank of the Yser Canal.

On 12 July the 5/6th Royal Scots moved to the west bank of the Yser Canal in the Lombartzyde sector. They remained here until relieved by the 16th Northumberland Fusiliers on 12 September. During this period Private William Weston was killed in action. His body was never recovered.

 

Memorials

William is Remembered with Honour on the Nieuport Memorial, West Vlaanderen, Belgium, together with 548 other casualties of the Battle of Passchendaele who have no known grave. He is also remembered on the Oadby War Memorial.

From 18 March 1918 his widow Minnie Weston received a 36s 3d per week pension for herself and seven children. She signed for his British War Medal and Victory Medal on 17 July 1921.

Nieupoort Memorial, West Vlaanderen, Belgium.