The Fallen of Ewhurst and Ellen's Green, Surrey  
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  William Marsh Haffenden  

Lance Corporal G/2286

8th Bn The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment)
Killed in Action 25/09/1915 (1), aged 22

 

No Known Grave, but Remembered on :
Ewhurst War Memorial,  Memorial Plaque (1) and Book of Remembrance
The Queen's (Royal West Surrey) Regiment Roll of Honour, Holy Trinity Church, Guildford
The Loos Memorial to the Missing, France (Panel 13 to 15)


The Loos Memorial to the Missing,

 

 

WILLIAM MARSH HAFFENDEN was born in 1893 (2) in Eastbourne, Sussex (3).

He attested at Stoughton Barracks in Guildford, the depot of the Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment) on 7th September 1914, aged 21(2), and became Private G/2286 ( the prefix of G denoted that William was a member of the New Armies, recruited as part of the drive for volunteers by Lord Kitchener, the Minister of War).

The 8th (Service) Battalion of the Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment) formed in Guildford in September 1914, as a K3 battalion (The third intake of Kitchener's volunteer battalions). It joined 72nd Brigade of the 24th Division at  based at Shoreham, and was undertaking musketry training and field training from Blackdown, near Aldershot in August when, on the 21st news was received that the battalion would shortly be moving to France. Also serving in the 8th Battalion with William was another Ewhurst man, Private Harry Kilhams.

FRANCE, AND THE BATTLE OF LOOS

On 30th August 1915 an advance party departed Farnborough for Southampton, and then Havre. The following day the remainder of the battalion entrained at Frimley station for Folkestone, and the channel crossing to France arriving in Boulogne on 1st September, 1915, although William's medal record card notes that he landed in France on 31st August 1915 (4).

The 8th Bn reached the front line at Vermelles on the afternoon of 25th September 1915, the first day of the Battle of Loos. The 72nd Brigade took over trenches west of Le Rutoire Farm. The following day, from the German trenches captured on the 25th, the brigade attacked at 11.15am in the direction of the ground to the south of the village of Hulluch.


Advance of 8th Bn Queen's (RWSR) on 26th September 1915

As the battalion crossed the Lens-La Basse Road, south of Hulluch, it was subjected to heavy shrapnel and machinegun fire from the village, which had been reported as being in British hands, and then was faced by swathes of uncut wire. The advancing British line lay down whilst efforts were made to cut the line, but as this proved unsuccessful the brigade withdrew to the British line, having suffered 12 officer and 409 other rank casualties, including their commanding officer and Lance Corporal William Haffenden. The battalion had been in France for just over 3 weeks, and this had been its first experience under fire.

William's body was never recovered from the battlefield, and as his grave is unknown he is remembered on the The Loos Memorial to the Missing.


Lance Corporal William Haffenden, remembered on the Loos Memorial to the Missing

William was posthumously awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

At this time William's connection to Ewhurst and Ellen's Green is unknown. His name is incorrect on the Ewhurst War Memorial and Memorial Plaque, given as Hafferden, and the lack of detail in the Book of Remembrance suggests that no family remained in the Ewhurst area.

90th Anniversary of the Battle of Loos

 

 

 

Follow this Link to details about First World War Medals
 

 

Notes:
(1) Although specified as 25th, is likely to have been the 26th as this was the date the 8th Bn actually went into action.
(2) As stated in Queen's Regiment Attestation Record, age on Attestation 21years and 3 days. (Surrey History Centre)
(3) As given in Soldiers Died in the Great War Born: Eastbourne, Enlisted: Cranleigh, Residence: Walthamstow, Essex.
(4) Medal Record Cards (Public Records Office)

Other sources:

  • Book of Remembrance

  • Soldiers Died in the Great War

  • 1901 Census

  • History of the Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment) by Col H C Wylly C.B.

  • CWGC
     

Andrew Bailey, Ewhurst, Surrey
andy@ewhurstfallen.co.uk
Copyrightę2005