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Person Details
Radford Nottingham
William Henry was born about 1875, the son of Tom and Sarah Ann Bland. His father was a stone mason. The family lived at 16 Vicarage Street, St Ann's, and seven children were named on census records between 1881 and 1911: William Henry, Mary A. Tom, Caroline, Albert, George and Annie. Sarah was a widow by the time of the 1901 census; she died in 1915 at the age of 64. William married Clara Pettinger Bland (nee Hayes) in 1907 (marriage registered Apr/May/June). Clara (b. 1870) was from Headon cum Upton, Nottinghamshire, but in 1901 she was a housemaid in the household of William Keeling, a retired upholsterer, who lived at 1 Arboretum Street, Nottingham. In 1911 Clara and William were living at 101 Blue Bell Hill Road but had moved before William's death as the notice of his death in the local paper describes him as 'late of 147 Mansfield Road'; this was the address of his greengrocer and fruiterer business. He and Clara had moved to 42 Wellington Street, Alfred Street Central, around 1915, possibly when he enlisted in the army. Clara was still living at the same address in the 1930s. She eventually moved to Thrumpton, Nottinghamshire. Clara never remarried and died at the age of 80 on 9 March 1950. Probate: 'Bland Clara otherwise Clara Pettinger of Wood Farm Thrumpton Nottinghamshire widow died 9 March 1950 Probate Nottingham 17 May to Mary Small spinster. Effects £128 13s 3d.'
In 1891 when he was 15 he was an errand boy. By 1901 he was a 'fruiter green on own account' and in 1911 a greengrocer. There are entries in the list of greengrocers and fruiterers in Wright's and Kelly's trade directories from 1900 to 1914/15 for 'Wm Hy Bland, 147 Mansfield Road'. From 1915 there is no entry under greengrocers and fruiterers but a home address of 42 Wellington Street, Alfred Street Central. This entry is continued in editions printed after William's death but by 1928 the occupant of 42 Wellington Street is listed as 'Mrs Bland.' However, in the 1915 directory an Albert Bland is listed at 247 Mansfield Road as a greengrocer and fruiterer and this may have been William's brother who took on the business although the number of the property on Mansfield Road is different. This entry is not repeated in later directories although an Albert Bland is listed as living at 115 Sherwood Street North, which is at the city end of Mansfield Road.
04 May 1917
326218 - CWGC Website
He was probably living at 147 Mansfield Road, Nottingham, when he enlisted.
1st Bn King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Private William Henry Bland enlisted at Nottingham and served with the 1st battalion King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. He was onboard the troopship HMT Transylvania (formerly the liner SS Transylvania, requisitioned as a troop ship 1915), on passage from Marseille to Alexandria when the ship was hit by two torpedoes from German submarine U-63 (Otto Schultze) off Cape Noli in the Gulf of Genoa (40m from Genoa). The ship sank in less than one hour after first struck with the loss of over 400 lives. However, there were over 2,000 survivors including Red Cross nurses. A report of the incident in a newspaper article published in 2012 describes how the majority of the casualties whose bodies were recovered were buried in Zinola Cemetery in Savona, but bodies were also recovered later in France, Morocco, Spain and other parts of Italy. William Henry is buried in Bormes Les Mimosas Communal Cemetery, Var, France (CWGC). Eye witness accounts of the incident are held at The National Archives (Kew) and several contemporary accounts are available on-line as well as a more recent report of a service of commemoration in Italy in 2012. The wreck of HMT Transylvania was located in 2011. trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/77665267: (Published 30 May 1917) ‘A troopship Lost. Heroic soldiers go down with the ship’ www.rivieratimes.com/index.php/italian-riviera-article/items/the-transylvania-catastrophe.(article 28 April 2012)
His brother Sapper Tom Bland enlisted at Nottingham and served with 104th Field Company, Royal Engineers. He was reported missing on 22 March 1918 but his death was not confirmed until the following year. He is buried in Jeancourt Communal Cemetery Extension, near Aisne, France (grave ref. II.A.28). He qualified for the British War Medal and Victory Medal. Nottingham Evening Post notice (abridged) 9 June 1917: 'Bland. Lost in Transport Transylvania, May 4th 1917, Private WH Bland, husband of Clara Bland, late of 147 Mansfield Road, in his 42nd year. Brothers, sisters.' In memoriam published 5th May 1919 in the Nottingham Evening Post :- “BLAND. – In loving memory of our dear brother, Pte. W. H. Bland, lost in the transport Transylvania, May 4th, 1917; also Tom Bland, R.E., killed in action March 22nd, 1918. – From their loving sisters and brother.” Above is courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
Remembered on