Private William Burnham, 203316

  • Batt - 2
  • Unit - Leicestershire Regiment
  • Section -
  • Date of Birth - 1877
  • Died - 27/01/1918
  • Age - 40

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Source: Michael Doyle Their Name Liveth For Evermore: The Great War Roll of Honour for Leicestershire and Rutland.
He was the son of Alfred Cox Burnham a corn miller, born on the 7th January 1849 in Belton, Rutland and his wife Rebecca Ann Burnham (nee Ablett, married on the 24th November 1873 in St. George’s Church, Leicester), born 1847 in Hallaton, Leicestershire. William was born in the 4th quarter of 1877 and baptised on the 3rd October 1877 in St. Peter’s Church, Mountsorrel, Leicestershire, his siblings were, Walter, born on the 6th January 1876, Sarah Elizabeth, born on the 17th November 1878 and baptised on the 12th March 1879 in St. Peter’s Church, Mountsorrel and Ernest, born in the 3rd quarter of 1880 and baptised on the 20th October 1880 in St. Peter’s Church, Mountsorrel, all his siblings were born in Mountsorrel, in April 1881 the family home was at Main Street, Mountsorrel. William’s brother Ernest died in the 3rd quarter of 1882 in Mountsorrel, aged 2. In April 1891 William was employed as an apprentice chimney sweep and was residing in the family home at Main Street, Mountsorrel, together with his father, a chimney sweep, his mother and siblings, Sarah, a schoolgirl, Ada, a schoolgirl, born on the 21st February 1882 and baptised on the 22nd March 1882 in St. Peter’s Church, Mountsorrel, Annie, a schoolgirl, born on the 3rd December 1883 and baptised on the 2nd January 1884 in St. Peter’s Church, Mountsorrel, Mary Jane, a schoolgirl, born in the 2nd quarter of 1885 and baptised on the 27th May 1885 in St. Peter’s Church, Mountsorrel, Grace, born on the 6th February 1887 and baptised on the 21st July 1887 in St. Peter’s Church, Mountsorrel and John Edward, born in the 1st quarter of 1891 and baptised on the 26th January 1891 in St. Peter’s Church, Mountsorrel, all his siblings were born in Mountsorrel. In March 1901 William was employed as a bricklayer and was residing in the family home at 49, Cambridge Street, Loughborough, Leicestershire, together with his wife Mary Ann Burnham (nee North, married on the 23rd February 1901 in All Saint’s Church, Loughborough) a hosiery machinist, born on the 6th December 1869 in Loughborough. In April 1911 William was employed as a bricklayer and was residing in the family home at 8, Paget Street, Loughborough, together with his wife and children, Alfred Ernest, born 1901, Ida Gladys, born on the 22nd August 1902, Hilda Maria, born on the 21st January 1904 and Grace Evelyn, born on the 12th December 1909, all the children were born in Loughborough. William’s younger brother, John fell in action on the 25th September 1915
William’s Army enlistment documents do not survive, all that is known of his military service is that he was serving as a Private, with the 2nd Battalion Leicestershire Regiment, service number 203316, and that he was subsequently transferred to the 1/7th Hampshire Regiment, service number unknown, later he was shown to have been transferred to the 4th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment, but this latter information is only vague, and again there is no service number available, at the time of his transfer to the Hampshire Regiment, he was shown to be stationed in Steamer Point, Aden, the 1/7th Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment had themselves only just arrived in Aden from India during January 1918. Unfortunately nothing further can be discovered that can offer any indication as to his military service, and it may be assumed that he had served with the 2nd Battalion Leicestershire Regiment in Mesopotamia, possibly being medically evacuated to hospital in Aden. Or was he transferred for other unknown reasons to Aden? And when the Hampshire Regiment arrived in Aden, was a transfer then effected from the Leicestershire Regiment to the Hampshire Regiment. The question that remains unclear is. Was the transfer to the Hampshire Regiment completed before William’s death? Given that no new service number was allotted to him, and that the final return for Maala Cemetery that was produced by the Imperial War Graves Commission, Graves Registration Officer records William as a Private serving with the 2nd Battalion Leicestershire Regiment with his originally allotted service number of 203316, would indicate that the transfer was not fully completed, and that for official purposes he was still serving with the Leicestershire Regiment. William died in hospital on the 27th January 1918, from odema of the lung, contracted while on active service and was buried in Maala Cemetery, Aden. William was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal.
William’s widow, Mary was awarded a weekly Army Pension for herself and her three children of thirty shillings and ten pence, to commence on 12th August 1918, on the 21st March 1919 this was increased to thirty six shillings and eight pence.

Leicestershire Project Findings
  • Conflict - World War I
  • Burial Place - E 58, Maala Cemetery
  • Other Memorials - Loughborough Carillon, War Memorial Bell Tower
Research from Michael Doyle's Their Name Liveth For Evermore
  • Attached Unit - 1/7th Bn. Hampshire Regiment
  • Unit - Leicestershire Regiment
  • Cause of death - DIED
  • Burial Commemoration - Maala Cem., Aden
  • Born - Mountsorrel, Leicestershire
  • Enlisted - Loughborough, Leicestershire
  • Place of Residence - 8 Paget Street, Loughborough, Leicestershire, England

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