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Saturday 5th December 2020  

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Quorn WW1 Roll of Honour - Henry James Williams

Died 26th December 1914, aged 26
Aldershot, England

Prior to the war

Henry James Williams was born in 1888, one of six children of Israel and Frances Williams (née Rue). Israel was born in Frisby on the Wreake, but Frances was a Quorn girl, and her family could trace their roots in the village, back to the very early 1800s.

When the couple were first married they lived in Ratcliffe on Soar in Nottinghamshire, where they had their first two sons, including Henry.

The family moved to Quorn around 1890, and lived on School Lane, opposite the old primary school, before eventually moving to Barrow Road, where they brought up their children. Sometime after 1915 they moved to their final home at 7 Church Lane (now demolished).

Henry can be found on the 1911 census, living with his parents, brothers and sister in their home on Barrow Road, and employed as a ‘concrete labourer’.

Joining up
Almost as soon as war broke out, he enlisted in ‘Kitchener’s Army’ in October 1914. He joined the 7th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment, and like many new recruits, he undertook his training at Aldershot. The 1914/15 winter was very severe and the men were living in tents. After a gruelling training session in appalling conditions, Henry developed pneumonia, and died shortly afterwards on Boxing Day in Cambridge Military Hospital in Aldershot.

Israel and Frances Williams still had three of their sons serving, which must have been very hard for them to bear.

Henry’s niece, Jessie Long, who lived in Quorn until just before her death in 2013, aged 101, could remember being told about her distressed grandparents going down to Aldershot when they received the tragic news of Henry’s death. His body was not brought back to Quorn and he was buried in a cemetery not far from the army camp.

Accepting the sacrifice
Four years after Henry’s death, in December 1918, the family placed an ‘in memoriam’ entry in the Loughborough Echo. This not only shows that the family were still thinking of him, but also indicates, how despite the grief and pain, people felt and accepted that dying for the victory was a price worth paying:
“WILLIAMS – In proud and loving memory of No. 12047, Pte Henry James Williams, 7th Batt. Leicesters, died in hospital at Aldershot, 26th December 1914 of pneumonia.
Death for one’s country’s sake is sweet,
A life laid down at Jesu’s feet,
Death for one’s country, if need be, Death for the right is victory.
From his loving mother, father, sister and brothers.”


Below:
1) A newspaper photograph of Henry
2) Henry’s parents, Israel and Frances, standing outside their home at 7 Church Lane


 view larger image
   
 Submitted on: 2020-01-11
 Submitted by: Sue Templeman with thanks to Judith Court and the late Jessie Long
 Artefact ID: 2272
 Print: View artefact in printer-friendly page or just on its own.

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