On this day in 1916, William John Churchman (1887-1916) was killed in action on the Western Front. He was 29.
William was a private in the 6th Battalion of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry.
He was initially reported as ‘missing’ in The Exeter and Plymouth Gazette on November 3, 1916.
His death was confirmed in the newspaper on May 18, 1917.
William, who previously served in the Somerset Light Infantry, is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.
William’s brother, Henry Thomas ‘Harry’ Churchman (1896-1916), also died in the Great War.
Born in Aldershot in 1897, William married Margaret Gigg (1894-1979) in the Honiton district in 1916. Margaret married again in 1918. And she was widowed a second time in her 20s just a year later when her husband, Frank Baker (1889-1919), died in Exeter in May 1919, aged 29. She had a son with Frank, Albert, who was just a few months old when his father died. Margaret married gardener Thomas Arthur Beech (1903-1992) in 1925. They lived at New Cottages, St Thomas for many years.
William’s brother, Henry Thomas ‘Harry’ Churchman married Edith Mary Snell (1896-1985) at St Michael’s Parish Church in West Hill, near Ottery St Mary on January 5, 1916. Edith was the daughter of Daniel James Snell (1862-1921) and Miriam Ellen Crooke (1860-1907). Daniel was the son of John Snell (1822-1865) and Sarah Pridham (1826-1898). John was the son of Robert Snell (1790-1854) and Ann Adams (1799-1824). Robert was the son of Sarah Roberts (1760-1837) and Robert Snell (1754-1838). Sarah was the daughter of William Roberts (1738-), my great-great-great-great-great grandfather.
Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on which William is remembered. Picture taken by Chris Hartford of London on July 26, 2005 (source: Flickr. CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons). https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Thiepval_Memorial_to_the_missing.jpg