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Private William Henry SPEECHLEY

1st Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment 8383

William was born in Spratton on 11 January 1893, the son of William Henry Speechley, a leather worker and his wife, Emily Allen.  William Jnr attended Spratton village school until he was seven, when the family moved to Northampton. He married Alice Maud Gregg on 7 September 1909 and their daughter Alice was born in 1912.  Sadly she died when she was only two years old.  A second daughter, Emily, was born in December 1914.

Although William was working as a hawker, he joined the 3rd Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment Special Reserve on 25 May 1908 and underwent regular training from that date.  At the time he claimed to be 17 years 11 months, but was in fact 15 years 6 months.  In 1913 he re-engaged for a further term and was mobilised as soon as war was declared in August 1914 and moved to the 1st Battalion. He received a minor wound on his wrist and arm on 23 October 1914 and in January 1915 absconded twice whilst back in England.  He was disciplined in April 1915 for having a dirty rifle, but was killed the following month at the Battle of Auber’s Ridge on 9 May when so many of the Northamptonshire Regiment lost their lives.  He was 23.

William’s wife received a pension of 15/- a week for herself and her daughter and re-married in 1922 to become Alice Maud Curtis.

William was awarded the 1914 Star and Clasp, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.  He is remembered on the Le Touret Memorial, Nord-Pas-de-Calais. 

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Genealogy Data

Le Touret Cemetery and Memorial, France
Le Touret Cemetery and Memorial, France
Le Touret Cemetery and Memorial, France
Le Touret Cemetery and Memorial, France
Northamptonshire Regiment badge
Northamptonshire Regiment badge
Northamptonshire Regiment badge
Northamptonshire Regiment badge

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