William Charles Garland

William Charles Garland was born in 1897 in Ramsden Bellhouse and died, aged 22, of the ‘spanish ‘flu’  on 3 July 1918, in Flanders/France at no. 56 Field Casualty Clearing Station.

The 1901 census shows him aged 3, living with his parents Philip (aged 39) and Thirza (aged 34)  and siblings George 13, Isaac 12, Rose 10, Arthur 9, Ernest William 8, Alice 5, Fred 2 and May Victoria 10 months.  His father’s  occupation was agricultural labourer.  His mother’s parents  James (aged 59) and Sarah A (aged 61) King, lived nearby.

The 1911 census shows the family living in Dowsetts Lane.   Philip and Ernest William’s occupations were general labourer, Arthur was a cowman and William Charles an errand lad.  The family had grown with the arrival Elijah Philip 4, Bertie and Alfred aged 2.

William Garland enlisted at Woolwich, into the 7th Royal West Kent Regiment, regimental no. 2086, 6th Battalion on on 7 September 1914, aged 19 years and 150 days.  On 8th September he was in Maidstone.  His previous occupation was groom, he was 5 ft 4 ¾ inches tall, weighed 120 lbs, chest 36 inches (range of expansion 2 inches) and was vaccinated in infancy (image 118722).  He received  a 5cc anti-typhoid innoculation at Purfleet on 4 December followed by a 10cc one on 14 December 1914 (image 118724).  He had a ruddy complexion, blue eyes, brown hair and a distinctive mark ‘pigmentation on  belly’ (image 118737).

His army records show he was reprimanded on three separate occasions in 1915 when stationed at Purfleet, when he was late back (7 April) and again (10 May) when he was stationed at Colchester.  The third occasion (27 May) was when he had a dirty rifle on parade, when based at Codford (image 118713).  Similarly in 1917 he was reprimanded for being late back (23 Sept) when based at Shoreham by Sea, and again on 3 November (image 118714).

The Regiment embarked for France in July 1915, and did not join the frontline until the following August, having spent more time in training. Here they entered the dull routine of trench life, at the front, in the rear, being used as railway
constructors and the like.

July saw them in the line on the Somme, where they were holding a sector that was repeatedly shelled during the now infamous Big Push. They were involved in fierce fighting at Trones Wood and the Schwaben Redoubt, all of which cost men yet William still survived.

He served with the British Expeditionary Force until 16 March 1917.  He was diagnosed with a chest abscess in Boulogne on 14 March 1917 and transferred back to England aboard HS Princess Elizabeth (image 118729).  He was taken to Sevenoaks Hospital 18 March where he remained until 21 March 1917 where the chest abscess was incised and then transferred to Chatham military hospital from 21-25 May 1917.  He was discharged 3 August 1917, his notes saying ‘operation successful – healed’ (image 118721),  and that he was able to walk 4 – 6 miles at regulation pace (image 118717).

At the end of 1917 he married Florence N Nunn.

William was posted and joined his battalion the Queens Own Royal West Kent, on 22 December 1917 (image 118727).   He contracted influenza  on 29 June 1918 (image 118727).

His daughter Patience was born in January 1918, but William never lived to see her.

At his death his records show he had served his country for 3 years 300 days (source: National Archives, image 118690) and his parents were still living at Ramsden Heath.   His Casualty form declared his army occupation to be Group 21 carpenter (image 118710).

His widow , Mrs F M Garland (image 118726), of Rockleigh Farm, Goldhanger, Witham (image 118733) was awarded a pension of 20s 5d starting 12 January 1919 for herself and their one child (image 118700).  On 21 February 1919 the army at Hounslow despatched to her, her late husband’s personal possessions; dice, letters, coin, brush, cigarette case, alum ring, 3 badges, mirror, wallet, purse, coins and broken pipe (image 118734).

William Garland was awarded the 1914 – 1915 star medal (image 118738).

Florence M Garland later remarried (to Fred Garland, Billericay end 1919??)

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