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Quorn WW1 Roll of Honour - William Gabriel King Peirce

Died 26th October 1914, aged 39
Festubert, Western Front, France

William Gabriel King Peirce was born in Kensington, in London, in 1875, when his father Richard, a doctor, was aged 53 and his mother, Frances, was aged 38. Both of his parents had been previously widowed and Richard was their only child together. The family lived a comfortable life and William was educated at Bradfield College in Berkshire, before going on to Merton College, Oxford. He excelled at sports and in May 1899 he joined the Manchester Regiment as a commissioned officer.

In 1903 William married Mary Agnes Fisher in Epsom, Surrey, and the 1911 census shows the couple living at Soar House on Soar Road in Quorn. This large house was owned by Edward Warner from Quorn Hall, and William and Mary were renting it from him. Whilst living in the village William served as a sidesman in St Bartholomew’s Church.

William had a successful career in the Army, during which he fought in the Boer war and was awarded the Queen’s South Africa Medal with 4 clasps, indicating four different actions or campaigns. He was made a Captain in 1901 and served for another 10 years before leaving the regular Army, late in 1911. The Army, however, was in his blood, and as he was qualified in both signalling and the use of firearms, he used his skills to teach others through the Officers’ Training Corps.

Normally he would not have been involved in active service again, but when war broke out, as a reservist, he rejoined his regiment. William had not been in France long when he was killed on Monday 26th October 1914, at Festubert, in the defence of the area around Neuve Chapelle. His death is recorded in the Quorn WW1 Book of Remembrance, but possibly due to the short time he lived in Quorn, it is not on the war memorial.

The October 1914 edition of the Parish magazine included William’s name amongst those Quorn men who were serving, and the December edition reported when he had been killed. He had obviously retained his connections with Quorn.

Although William was born in London, he moved around and when he died, his address was given as Wimborne in Dorset. William and Agnes did not have any children and on his death he left his estate of over £20,000 to his widow; this is over £1.5 million at today’s prices (2018).

1) William Peirce
2) A modern photograph of Soar House on Soar Road, where William and his wife used to live.

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 Submitted on: 2020-01-12
 Submitted by: Sue Templeman
 Artefact ID: 2290
 Print: View artefact in printer-friendly page or just on its own.

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