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Tuesday 18th May 2021  

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Quorn WW1 Roll of Honour - William Cox Flanders

Died 18th May 1916, aged 20
Mesopotamia, Iraq

Family background

William Cox Flanders was one of eleven surviving children of Robert and Harriett Flanders. The 1911 census shows him living with his parents and seven of his siblings at Woodhouse Eaves, but by the time war broke out they were living at Beaconsfield Cottage, 15 Loughborough Road, Quorn (see photograph below). William’s father had been in service as a butler with Colonel the Hon. Montagu Curzon, then with Mrs Arthur King, of Garrett’s Hay in Woodhouse and finally with Mr Sidney Wright at Woodside on Wood Lane (now known as Quorn Grange).

The Flanders had four of their boys serving; three in the Army and one in the Merchant Navy. Like his elder brother John (Jack), William joined the Leicestershire Regiment.

Before the war
William had followed in his father’s footsteps and gone ‘into service’. Before he joined the army he was working as a footman in the household of Princess Helena, daughter of Queen Victoria, and her husband Prince Christian.

Death in Mesopotamia (Iraq)
It was whilst serving in Mesopotamia that William drowned in the River Tigris. Much to the anguish of his parents and despite their enquiries, his body was never recovered and he is commemorated on the Basra Memorial in Iraq.

The Leicester Mail reported William’s death on Tuesday 6th June 1916:
“….. Prior to the war he was in the service, as footman, of the Prince and Princess Christian, and was much respected. He enlisted early in 1915, and after a spell at the front went out to the Persian Gulf. He was held in high esteem by his comrades.”

The royal household sent a letter of condolence to the Flanders family. It says:
“Mr Flanders
TRH Prince & Princess Christian desire me to convey their deep sympathy to you in the sad loss of your son. Their Royal Highnesses are very sorry and were always interested in William – who did so well in their Royal Highness’s service and pleased the Prince and Princess very much.
He has given his life for his King and Country and Their Royal Highness’s know how proud you must feel of him.
I remain yours faithfully
Archibald S------
Sir A S----, Acting Equerry to TRH Prince and Princess Christian”

William’s elder brother Jack was killed four months after William. See Artefact 2316.

1) William Flanders
2) The first page of the royal letter of condolence.
3) A modern photograph of the Flanders’ family home, Beaconsfield Cottage, 15 Loughborough Road. The house has remained in the family ever since (2020).
4) Standard army form B104-82 was sent to the next of kin when a soldier had been killed. Robert and Harriett Flanders received this letter in June 1916. It is hard enough to imagine receiving such devastating news at all, but to get it as an impersonal and sterile, ‘fill-in-the-boxes’ type form, seems very cruel, and almost dismissive of their loss.
The writing will be clearer if you click ‘Enlarge’, below the image.

 view larger image
 Submitted on: 2020-01-13
 Submitted by: Sue Templeman with documents and family photographs from Phil Child
 Artefact ID: 2317
 Print: View artefact in printer-friendly page or just on its own.

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