[Skip to content]

  • Photo provided courtesy of Cliff Housley
Person Details
William was born at Hucknall in 1898, the son of Alfred a coal miner hewer and Ellen Tolley née Page of 46 Sherbrooke Road, Daybrook. His father Alfred was born in 1868 at Darlaston, Staffordshire, his mother Ellen Page was born in 1869 at Darlaston they were married on 31st March 1888 at St John's Church, Hucknall, they went on to have 11 children, sadly one died in infancy, their surviving children were Samson b1890, John Thomas b1893, both were born in Hucknall they went on to have the following children all of whom were born in Daybrook, Ellen b1895, Alfred b1896, William Henry b1899, Percy b1900, Lily b1903, Caroline b1906, James Leslie b1906 and Leonard b1909. In the 1911 Census the family are living at 46 Sherbrook Road, Daybrook and are shown as Alfred 43 yrs a coal miner hewer, he is living with his wife Ellen 42 yrs and their children John Thomas 18 yrs a coal miner pony driver, Ellen 16 yrs a laundry ironer, Alfred 15 yrs a coal miner pony driver, William Henry 12 yrs a scholar, Percy 11 yrs Lily 8 yrs a scholar, Caroline 7 yrs , James Leslie 5 yrs and Leonard 2 yrs of age.
31 Jul 1917
1626628 - CWGC Website
Manchester Regiment
Private William Henry Tolley enlisted into the army in 1915, joining the Sherwood Foresters Regiment as a Private with regimental number 3876, but he was transferred into the Manchester Regiment in May 1915, joining their 16th battalion In France he was employed as a Company Runner delivering messages between his Company and Battalion Headquarters during attacks on the Pilckem Ridge and during one of the German counter attacks that William was sent forward from battalion headquarters with a very important message for one of the front line companies. During his difficult journey over the cratered ground he was caught by the explosion of a German shell and killed in action having no known grave his name is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium
His elder brother Private John Thomas Tolley attested into the Lincolnshire Regiment at Hucknall on 3rd September 1914, his medical form shows his age as 21yrs and 240 days he was 5 feet 9 ½ inches, 127 lbs and had a 34 inch chest. He was posted to their 7th Battalion. His battalion took part in the battle for Arras, the British continued with the battle hoping to pull off attention from the French. It was during this continuation of the battle that John was killed in action aged 24 years, when in the front line trench. The German shelling has very heavy and suddenly a shell exploded almost on top of him and a large piece of shrapnel entering his head and killing him instantly. He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, France
Remembered on


  • Photo provided courtesy of Cliff Housley
    William Henry Tolley - Photo provided courtesy of Cliff Housley