WILLIAM ARTHUR PIERCE 

Rank: Acting Corporal
Service Number: 6066.
Regiment: 2nd Bn. Border Regiment Killed In Action Sunday 16th May 1915 Age 24County Memorial Knutsford Area
Commemorated\Buried LE TOURET MEMORIAL
Grave\Panel Ref: N/A
France

William Arthur Pierce was born in Welshpool in 1891 and came to live and work with his uncle and aunt, James (a publican) and Rachel Plant at The Old Church House, Lower Peover.

He enlisted in the 2nd Battalion of the Border Regiment in 1914, becoming Private no. 6066.

He arrived in France on the 18th January 1915. He was promoted to Acting Corporal.

William was killed in action on the 16th May 1915.

On that fateful day:

The Battalion war diary states:

16.5.15 FESTUBERT

The Brigade was allotted the task of breaking the line at two points. The Border Regiment from P5 to PRINCES ROAD, roughly 150 yards and the 2nd Scots Guards from PRINCES ROAD to 150 yards to the right.

At 3.15 am two platoons of A Company made the assault but was stopped by two of our own heavy howitzer shells which dropped after the bombardment should have stopped.

They advanced a second time after heavy loss and gained the German trench. They were at once supported by the remaining two platoons of A Company.

An attempt was made to progress further but the advance was stopped by a ditch full of water and by heavy machine gun fire which enfiladed from the left.

The whole of B Company was then pushed over and occupied the German front line trench with orders to hold P% at all costs. 80 Brigade Bombers were attached to the Company for this purpose. Attempts were made to bomb down the trench to the left  which was still in the hands of the Germans. About 200 yards was gained but on each occasion the ground had to be given up owing to the shortage of bombs. These parties came under fire from a trench mortar during each attempt and suffered very heavy losses but despite their losses P5 was held until the Battalion was relieved.

About this time the communication trench P5 P4 which was our objective was made good.

The machine gunners with two guns were then sent up to a point about midway between P5 and P4 to strengthen the line.

C and D Companies pushed on into the German trench and prolonged the line to the right.

During these operations the Battalion suffered very heavily. Lieut. WOOD was wounded midway between the British and the German trenches and was brought in by Sgt Maj. Davenport and Corporal Coleman but he died as soon as he reached the British trench.

Major ASW Moffatt was in command of the two leading companies but was hit in the head in the German communication trench and died shortly afterwards.

The diary goes on to list the names of 9 officers that had been killed and 4 wounded.

During the night the Battalion was relieved by the 1st Grenadier Guards and on account of the serious losses it had sustained + returned to the old British line where it was re-organised.

The total casualties during these operations were:

Officers 11 killed 5 wounded

Other Ranks 110 killed  240 wounded  35 missing.

Researched and compiled by Tony Davies

© Cheshire County Memorial Project
2018