SAPPER 86419. 184TH MINING COMPANY. ROYAL ENGINEERS.
DIED OF WOUNDS ON THURSDAY 8TH JUNE 1916. AGED 37YRS
REMEMBERED WITH HONOUR AT ST SEVER CEMETERY, ROUEN SEINE-MARITIME, FRANCE. (A.18.38)
William was born in 1878 at Keep Hill, (Chepping) Wycombe, Buckinghamshire (Perth on SDGW?!) and was the son of Joseph & Ann Redding nee Fryer. In 1881 the family were living at Abbey Barn Farm, High Wycombe where his father was a gamekeeper. William was one of eight children, five sisters and two brothers. Alice Lydia, Annie Elizabeth, Joseph, Kate, Edith, Charles and Olive May. In 1891 the family were living at Daws Hill Farm House, Chepping Wycombe.
In 1901 the family were living at Flackwell Heath and William is now 23yrs old and a soldier with the 56th Company Imperial Yeomanry. The National Archives WO128 gives a service no as 10275. He served in the Boer War in South Africa. He received the Queen’s South Africa (QSA) Medal clasps: Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal, South Africa 1901.
In April 1903 William married Edith Fassnidge in Wycombe. By 1911 they had three children,
William Alan, Eric Auguster and Ena Sybil and were living in Flackwell Heath.
William transferred to the 184th Tunnelling Company when this unit was raised at the Royal Engineers base depot in Rouen in October 1915. He had previously enlisted with the Gordon Highlanders in London.
From March 1916 the Company took over some tunnelling projects from the French 34th Division in front of Arras and was engaged in intensive mining and counter mining opposite the Germans. It was very hot and dangerous work in the airless tunnels and the men could often hear the sounds of the enemy tunnelling close by. On June 4th the Germans began a fierce artillery bombardment which destroyed three mines under the British workings and therefore one of the tunnels. It is possible that William was a casualty at this time but his name is not mentioned in the War Diary. He died of his wounds on 8th June possibly at the Base Hospital in Rouen.
William is also remembered on the Little Marlow War Memorial, the Wycombe Hospital Plaque and his name appears on the High Wycombe Roll of Honour.