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  • Photograph published in the Retford Times 29 September 1916 when William Breddy was reported missing in action. Photograph courtesy of Alan Laurie
Person Details
Retford Nottinghamshire
William was the son of William and Elizabeth Breddy (née Watkins). His father William was born in East Retford in 1860, the son of John and Adeline Breddy of St John Street, East Retford. He was baptised at Retford St Swithun on 23 September 1860. His mother Elizabeth Watkins was born in Sturton le Steeple, Nottinghamshire, probably in 1864 (A/M/J Newark). William and Elizabeth were married at SS Peter and Paul, Sturton le Steeple, on 25 June 1883. They had fourteen children of whom ten survived infancy. Eleven children were recorded on the census between 1891 and 1911, one of whom died before his first birthday. All the children were born in Retford and all but the two youngest were baptised at Retford St Swithun: George Arthur b. 3 October 1884 bap. 23 October 1884; Ernest birth registered 1888 (J/F/M) bap. 17 February 1888; William b. 1890 bap. 1 May 1890; James b. 21 November 1891 bap. 26 December 1891; Edith b. 1894 bap. 25 September 1894; John bap. 1896 bap. 20 May 1897; Florence b. 6 April 1898 bap. 4 June 1898; Herbert b. 1900 (O/N/D) bap. 26 November 1900 d. 1901 (A/M/J); Albert b. 4 February 1902 and Leonard birth registered 1905 (J/F/M). The baptismal records for George and Ernest (1884 and 1888) give their parents' address as Union Street, Retford, but by 1890 they were living on St John Street and were still at the same address in 1901. However, on the census only Elizabeth (29) was listed in the home with her three sons George (6), Ernest (3) and William (1). By 1897 the family had moved to 10 Woolpack Street which was also their home in 1901. William (40) a stone mason was in the home on the night of the census with his wife and eight of their nine children: Ernest, William, James (9), Edith (7), John (5), Florence (3), May (2) and Herbert (under 1 year). Their eldest son George was probably working as a railway porter and living in Brightmoor, Sheffield, as a boarder in the household of George and Lucy Sheldon. The youngest son, Herbert, died in 1901 before his first birthday. Albert was born the following year and Leonard in 1905, the year before the death of his father. William snr, died in 1906 (J/F/M East Retford) and in 1911 his widow was living at 21 Spital Hill, Retford, with six of her ten surviving children including William, who worked at an iron foundry, and his wife Florrie. Edith was a 'day girl domestic', John an errand boy, and May, Albert (8) and Leonard (6) were at school. George was married and living at 23 Spital Hill with his wife and son; Ernest was a shop assistant and a boarder at 3 Norman Place, Lincoln; James had joined the Royal Navy in 1909 and Florence was a visitor at 9 Wellington Street, Retford. William had married Florrie Foottit (b. 23 October 1891) in December 1910 at Retford; his brother Ernest and sister Edith were witnesses. He and Florrie had a daughter, Annie Elizabeth, born Retford 24 April 1912. His widow Florrie married Frederick Chapman on 25 December 1918 (reg. Eccleshall Bierlow Yorkshire). The last address for Florrie Chapman held by the Army was 213 Eyre Street, Sheffield. William's mother Elizabeth later lived at 19 Spital Hill, Retford; an address also given for her daughter-in-law, Florrie before she remarried. Elizabeth was still living at the same address in 1939 when the England & Wales Register was compiled. Also in the home was her granddaughter, Barbara Breddy (b. 20 August 1927), the daughter of her son Albert and his wife Mary. Three of William's brothers also died in the war: Ernest served in the Royal Scots Fusiliers d. 20 June 1919; James served in the Royal Navy d. 28 September 1918; John served in the Duke of Edinburgh's (Wiltshire Regiment) d. 12 July 1917. They are also commemorated on the Retford St Saviour Memorial (see records on this Roll of Honour). Of their surviving siblings: George married Lillian Beatrice Needham (b. 31 August 1888) in 1908 (reg. Litchfield Staffordshire). In 1911 George, a pipe maker (iron works), and Lillie were living at 23 Spital Hill, Retford, with their son William (six months), another child had died in infancy. They had at least five other children: George b. Retford 7 January 1913, Edward b. 1915 (reg. Tynemouth Northumberland), John L. b. 1917 (reg. Tynemouth), Kathleen b. Retford 1919 (J/F/M) and Ernest L. b. Retford 1923. George had served in the Militia in the York & Lancaster Regiment but attested on 26 August 1914 in the Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment). He was medically discharged in April 1916. In 1939 he and Lillie were living at 8 Crossways, Retford, with their son George, a colliery haulage hand; George snr. was a public works labourer. Their son Edward served in the RAMC in the Second World War and died on 29 June 1944 (see 'Extra information'). George died in 1953 and Lilian in 1971. Edith married Jesse Bingham (b. 18 September 1892) in 1913. Jesse served in the Yeomanry in Salonika. In 1939 they were living at 66 Spital Hill, Retford; Jesse was a lorry driver. Edith died on 17 February 1955; she was still living at the same address. Florence married William Shaw (b. 11 October 1895) in 1918. William had served in the war but was medically discharged. In 1939 William, a road maker, and Florence were living at 80 Springfield Road, Retford, with their children Florence L. (b. 3 June 1922) and George (b. 1 November 1930). Florence died in 1969. May married Thomas Dunk (b. 27 May 1896) in 1917. Thomas served in the Royal Navy during the war but was medically discharged. In 1939 they were living in Retford with their children Violet (b. 30 July 1919) a shop assistant, Marjorie (b. 4 January 1921) a daily domestic servant, May (b. 6 February 1922) 'invalid TB', Tom Dunk (b. 4 July 1923) a collier, and Winifred (b. 18 November 1924) a shop assistant; Tom was a colliery boiler charge man. May died in 1979. Albert married Mary E Roberts (b. 9 October 1903) in 1922. In 1939 they were living in Retford, Albert was a labourer (gas works). Also in the home were their children Ronald (b. 2 January 1933) and Gordon (b. 8 February 1936); the records of two other people in the home remain closed. A daughter, Barbara (b. 20 August 1927), was living with her grandmother Elizabeth Breddy. Albert died in 1965. Leonard died in 1918 (O/N/D East Retford) aged 13.
He was a member of the Wesleyan Chapel and day school on Grove Street, Retford. Note: William's name does not appear on the Grove Street Methodist Chapel memorial.
26 Sep 1915
728364 - CWGC Website
10th Bn York and Lancaster Regiment
His service record shows that he attested for 3 years service or for the duration of the war on 31st August 1914 at Retford, shortly after war was declared on 4th August. William was 24 years and 164 days old, and worked as a moulder for Jenkins and Co., Retford. He originally served with Lincolnshire Regiment (service number 10686) but on the day before he went to France on 10 September 1915 he was transferred to the 10th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment. William was initially reported missing in action but his death was later confirmed and 'regarded for official purposes' as 26 September 1915. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial. He qualified for the 1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. Information on William Breddy has been provided by Alan Laurie
The Breddy family was a true military family, but suffered dreadfully during the Great War. Five of their sons served with the armed forces. One served, was wounded and then discharged while the others served and died. George, their eldest, served with the Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment) and originally enlisted on 26th August 1901 served his time and went on to the reserve list. When war was declared he was recalled and served with his regiment until he was wounded during fighting from which he became deaf. He was discharged on 5th April 1916 and awarded a Silver War Badge. William was the first to be killed, dying on 26th September 1915 while serving with the York and Lancs Regiment. His body was never identified and he is commemorated on the Loos Memorial. Next was John who died on 12th July 1917 while serving with the Wiltshire Regiment; he is buried in Retford Cemetery. His death was followed by that of Ernest's who died on 20th June 1918 while serving with the Royal Scots Fusiliers. Ernest was buried in La Targette British Cemetery, France. Finally, James died on 28th September while serving in the Royal Navy and was buried in Murdos Cemetery Greece. Their mother Elizabeth, already a widow at the outbreak of the war and bringing up her younger children alone, suffered throughout losing her older sons during the conflict. The Retford Times, 29 September 1916;- 'Private William Breddy, son of Mrs Elizabeth Breddy, of 66 Spital Hill, Retford has been missing since the Battle of Loos on September 25th last year. Mrs Breddy has 3 other sons serving and another has been discharged as medically unfit. Any information concerning Private Wm Breddy would be greatly received by his wife or mother.' It was later confirmed that William had been killed in action on 26 September 1915. In a letter dated 30th May1916 from the War Office, his widow Florrie was informed that she would receive a pension in respect of her and her daughter of 15 shillings (75 pence) weekly from 5th June 1916. William's nephew, Edward Breddy, the son of his brother George, died in the Second World War: CWGC 2114439 : Breddy Pte Edward 7518291 RAMC 13 General Hospital, 29th June 1944. Age 28. Son of George and Lilian Breddy, of Retford, Nottinghamshire; husband of Gertrude Eleanor
Remembered on


  • Photograph published in the Retford Times 29 September 1916 when William Breddy was reported missing in action. Photograph courtesy of Alan Laurie
    William Breddy - Photograph published in the Retford Times 29 September 1916 when William Breddy was reported missing in action. Photograph courtesy of Alan Laurie
  • William Breedy's name is commemorated on the Loos Memorial. Photograph CWGC
    William Breedy - William Breedy's name is commemorated on the Loos Memorial. Photograph CWGC