William Hubert Watkins

Village memories: White Hill (Picture from SWOP website)

No picture available

Private 16486 1st Battalion, Hampshire regiment
Killed in action on 1st July 1916 aged 30
Remembered with Honour at Thiepval Memorial
Grave reference Pier & Face 7C & 7B
Formerly 17805 Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry

(William) Hubert was born to Hubert Watkins and Amy Rachel Hallen in Beaconsfield in late 1885. By 1901 the family was living in Winsor End, Beaconsfield and he had a brother Charles. Hubert junior married Maud Emily Adams in 1907 and by 1911 were living in Bermuda Cottage, Station Road, Loudwater with their daughter Phylis Maud.

Hubert originally enlisted in the Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry under number 17805 but may have been demobbed from that tour of duty before enlisting again with the Hampshire Regiment, 1st Battalion, number 16486.

On 1st July 2016 the British and French armies on the Western Front launched a large-scale offensive to push back the opposing German forces at the onset of the Battle of the Somme. The battle began that morning when nearly a quarter of a million shells were fired at the German positions in just over an hour, a barrage so loud that it was heard in London. At 7.28am ten mines were exploded under the German trenches and two minutes later, British and French troops attacked along a 25 mile front. Whilst the French made good progress, 1st July was the worst day in the history of the British army, which suffered almost 60,000 casualties, with Private Watkins listed killed in action amongst those casualties.

His obituary in the South Bucks Free Press dated 11th August 1916 stated that he left a widow and two children but other sources report that there were three children named Phylis, William and Percy.

Private Watkins is remembered with honour at the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

His brother Charles had previously died on 12th August 1915 from wounds inflicted at Gallipoli and is commemorated on the Wooburn Green memorial.

Information below taken from the Buckinghamshire Remembers website:
Name William Hubert WATKINS
Rank/Number Private 16486
Regiment Hampshire Regiment 1st Battalion
Enlisted Oxford
Age/Date of death 30 01 Jul 1916
How died/Theatre of war Killed in action France & Flanders
Last known address Loudwater
Cemetery Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France
Grave or Memorial Reference Pier & Face 7C & 7B
Location of memorial Loudwater
Date/Place of birth c1886 Beaconsfield
Date/Place of baptism
Pre-war occupation of Casualty
Parents Hubert & Amy R Watkins
Parent's occupation bill poster
Parents’ Address (last known) 1901: Windsor End, Beaconsfield
Wife married
Wife’s Address (last known)
Notes formerly 17805 OBLI. Brother of C R Watkins on Wooburn WM

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