Private William John Whittle (2764/240625)

2/8th Bn, The Worcestershire Regiment, 183rd Brigade, 61st Division, B.E.F.

Malvern Commemoration: Christchurch,

Burial/Commemoration: Pozieres Memorial

Nature of Death: Killed in action during the German Spring Offensive, Somme, France 31/3/1918

Cap badge of the Worcestershire Regiment

William Whittle was born in Reigate, Surrey and at the time of the First World War lived at Joyfields Villa in Gilbert Road. He enlisted in the local Territorial infantry unit, the 8th Worcestershire Regiment at Worcester in September 1914 and was posted to C Company, at that based at Malvern. However, for whatever reason he was kept back and served wiht the reserve unit, which later became the 2/8th Worcestershire Regiment.

The 2/8th Battalion went to France in May 1916 and was involved in heavy fighting the following year during the Passchendaele Offensive. On 21st March 1918, the German Army mounted a massive offensive at the weak point where the French and British Armies met. The division to which the 2/8th belonged, the 61st were holding the line in front of St Quentin. The Worcestershire soldiers lost a great many killed, wounded and captured on the first day, and fought solidly in the retreat of the next few weeks. A particularly bitter exchange was fought on the 31st March, during which Whittle was killed. His death was reported in the Malvern News on the 18/5/18.

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