William Milburn Ackrill was born in Malvern in 1878, the son of Geoge Edwin and Esther Ackrill. In the 1911 Census he is recorded as a banksman employed by the Great Western Railway at Aberbeeg in Monmouthshire. He was lodging with the Lofts family at 12 Craigs View Terrace. Many Malvern men worked in the coal industry in south Wales at the turn of the century, and the requirement to move this raw material across the country, meant there were lots of railway jobs too.
William joined in October 1914 and served with the Lancashire Fusiliers. He landed in France on 16th May 1915 as a reinforcement for the 2nd Battalion.
On 6th July the 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers took over trenches captured by the Rifle Brigade that morning on Pilkem Ridge. The men spent the night improving the trenches and repairing the parapets. This work continued until day light on the 7th. Over the next three days the battalion were subjected to a strong counter-attack and subsequent heavy fighting. Losses were so great that according to the War Diary no narrative could be supplied. The Battalion lost 7 officers killed and 10 officers wounded; 79 other ranks killed, 201 wounded and 19 missing. and his death was reported in the Malvern News on the 21st August 1915.
William’s body was not recovered after the war and he is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.
Kenneth Ackrill 2005
Malvern News 21/8/15
War Diary of the 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers WO 95/1507