From the Pit to the trenches

William Home was born in Cramlington in 1878 the son of William and Elizabeth Home according to the census of 1891. As a young man he was down the pit extracting coal that powered the British Empire. By the time of the new census in 1901 he was still in Cramlington but had become a cartman with the Co op Society which was a hard job but lots of fresh air and he had also got married to Elizabeth Jane Roberts that year.
By 1911 he was listed as a rolleyman which was another name for a cartman.He would have been well known in the community as the Co op was the prominent shop in the area at the time.
William was a member of St Bartholomews Church and he is commemorated there on a plaque.
He had 8 children but sadly two died in childhood baby Olive in 1903 and six year old William in 1910.
William joined up with the Northumberland Fusiliers known as one of the commercial battalions comprising of shop assistants clerks and delivery men. They were thought of as ‘posh’ and came in for banter from some of the other soldiers.
The 18th Brigade were in some of the worst places in the Somme on the opening day of battle only 20 yards from the German trenches. Constantly shelled and snipers waiting to pick them off.
They were used to dig trenches to shore fallen ones up and maintain any that needed repairs. Many had no weapons and were regularly wounded.
40 Years old William was killed in action around 3rd or 4th June Bethune/Arras area and buried at Bruay Communal Cemetry in France. Wife Elizabeth was granted £34.00 in war gratuity after his death.

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