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  • Commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium. (www.cwgc.org)
Person Details
Newark Nottinghamshire
William was the son of Thomas and and his first wife Elizabeth Gumsley (née Milner). His father Thomas was born in Newark in 1854, the son of Thomas and Mary Gumsley. His mother Elizabeth was born in Beverley, Yorkshire, in 1855, the daughter of Edward and Betsy Milner. Her parents and their four children including Elizabeth, a seamstress, were living in Newark in 1871. Thomas and Elizabeth were married in 1871 (reg. O/N/D Nottingham) and had at least seven children who were born in Newark: Arthur Milner b. 1872, Rose Milner b. 1874, Ada Milner b. 1876, Emily Milner b. 1878, William b. 1880, Albert b. 1882 and Walter birth registered 1886 (J/F/M). In 1881 Thomas, a bricklayer, and Elizabeth, a machinist, were living in Eldon Place, Eldon Street, Newark, with their five children Arthur (9), Rose (6), Ada (3), Emily (2) and William (7 months). Walter was born five years later. Elizabeth died in 1890 (burial 5 March) and in 1891 Thomas was recorded at the Malt Shovel Inn, North Gate, Newark, while his eldest daughter, Rose, 'head of household', was living at 3 Albion Street, Barnby in the Willows, Newark, with her five younger siblings: Ada, a cigar maker, Emily, William, Albert (8) and Walter (5). Arthur had joined the 13th Hussars in Edinburgh in October 1890 and in 1891 was at the Cavalry Barracks, Leith, Edinburgh. He had named his father of 3 Albion Street as his next of kin when he enlisted. Thomas married secondly Mary Kettle in 1900 and in 1901 they were living at 23 Parliament Street, Newark, with his sons Albert, a stonemason, and Walter together with Dorothy Gumsley aged 6 (birth probably registered Dorothy Florence EW Gumsley 1894 Newark). William has not yet been traced on the 1901 Census but his three sisters were now married: Rose (Jenkinson), Emily (Wheatley) and Ada (Norris). Arthur had transferred to the Army Reserve in 1897 and had married Clara Maria Sandaver in 1898 (reg. Leeds), However, he was recalled in November 1901 for the war in South Africa. Their daughter Clara Beatrice died in March 1902 aged 9 months while he was in South Africa. Thomas' second wife Mary died in 1909 and in 1911 he and his daughter Dorothy were visiting his married daughter Emily Wheatley at Spital Row, Newark. His son Walter, an iron trimmer, was living with Emily and her husband Alfred. Thomas died in 1917 (reg. Newark). William married Eleanor Mary Towle (née Manners) in 1907 (J/A/S Nottingham). Eleanor had been married previously to Joseph Towle (m. 1901) by whom she had two children, John Leslie b. 1902 and Dorothy Nellie b. 1904. Joseph died in 1907 (J/F/M Nottingham). William and Eleanor had at least four children, one of whom died in infancy: William Stanley b. 21 October 1908 (reg. Newark) and an unnamed daughter b. 1910 d. 1910, Gordon Manners b. 1911 and William Scott b. 1913 whose births were registered in Southwell. William, a rural postman, and Eleanor (34, b. 1876 Nottingham), their son William Stanley (2) and Eleanor's children John (8) and Dorothy (6), were living at Barrel Hill Cottage, Sutton on Trent, Newark, in 1911. At some point Eleanor returned to Nottingham, as the military records after her widowhood record her and the children living in Basford. She died in 1925 (reg. Nottingham, burial 3 April). William's older brother, Arthur Milner, who had enlisted in the 13th Hussars in 1890 (7 years with the Colours 5 years Reserve) with previous service in the Militia (4th Bn Notts & Derby Regiment), served until 1902, his Army Reserve time being interrupted by recall to serve in South Africa: Home 29 October 1890-11 November 1892, India 12 November 1892-26 October 1894. Egypt 27 Ocotober 1894-3 November 1896. Home 4 November 1896-28 October 1897. Home 29 October 1897-15 November 1901. South Africa 16 November 1901-9 September 1902. Home 10 September 1902-28 October 1902. Total 12 years. However, Arthur enlisted in the Royal Air Force (261316) on 25 June 1918 aged 46. He served at home from 25 June to 1 August then in France from 2 August to 2 January 1919. Arthur was on home service from 3 January transferring to the Reserve on 10 February 1919 but was not discharged until 30 April 1920.
1911 - rural postman.
26 Oct 1917
837863 - CWGC Website
Enlisted Newark
Lance Corporal
1/5th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers
1/5th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers The Northumberland Fusiliers, sometimes called the 'Fighting Fifth' since it was the Fifth Foot until 1881, raised over 50 battalions in the Great War, second only to the London Regiment. The 1/5th Bn was a Territorial Force battalion raised in August 1914 and which served in France from April 1915. William Gumsley enlisted at Newark, date not known, and did not serve overseas until after 1915. William was killed on 26 October 1917. This was the year the battalion saw action in the First Battle of the Scarpe, the capture of Wancourt Ridge, the Second Battle of the Scarpe, and the Second Battle of Passchendaele. William has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. The Memorial is within the Tyne Cot Cemetery, 9 kilometres from Ieper [Ypres]. William qualified for the British War Medal and Victory Medal. CWGC - History of the Tyne Cot Memorial (extract): 'The Tyne Cot Memorial is one of four memorials to the missing in Belgian Flanders which cover the area known as the Ypres Salient. Broadly speaking, the Salient stretched from Langemarck in the north to the northern edge in Ploegsteert Wood in the south, but it varied in area and shape throughout the war. The Salient was formed during the First Battle of Ypres in October and November 1914, when a small British Expeditionary Force succeeded in securing the town before the onset of winter, pushing the German forces back to the Passchendaele Ridge. The Second Battle of Ypres began in April 1915 ... (allied) withdrawal and a shortening of the line of defence. There was little more significant activity on this front until 1917, when in the Third Battle of Ypres an offensive was mounted by Commonwealth forces to divert German attention from a weakened French front further south. The initial attempt in June to dislodge the Germans from the Messines Ridge was a complete success, but the main assault north-eastward, which began at the end of July, quickly became a dogged struggle against determined opposition and the rapidly deteriorating weather. The campaign finally came to a close in November with the capture of Passchendaele.' (www.cwgc.org)
CWGC: 'Father of Mrs (sic). Dorothy N. Towle, of 21, Hollis St., New Basford, Notts.' Newark Herald, ‘Roll of Honour’, 25 October 1919. Gumsley. In loving memory of Sgt.(sic) W Gumsley, Northumberland Fusiliers, killed in action, October 26th, 1917. From his loving sister.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) WW1 Pension Ledgers Index Cards: widow Eleanor Mary b. 1876, stepchild Dorothy Nellie b. 1904 and children William Stanley b. 1908, Gordon Manners b. 1911 and William Scott b. 1913, all resident Basford. William's stepson, John (b. 1902), was no longer a dependent. Registers of Soldiers' Effects: his widow Eleanor was his legatee. Nottingham Evening Post, ‘In Memoriam’, 31 March 1927 (also 1928 and 1929): ‘Gumsley. Loving memory of our dear mother, died March 31st, 1925. Never forgotten. Loving sons and daughter Dorothy.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk). William and Eleanor's son, William Stanley Gumsley, married Clara W Clarke in 1931 and they were living in Nottingham in 1939; William was a 'clerk and collector'. He attested in the Royal Artillery (1085567 Gunner) and served in the 88th Field Regiment. He was taken prisoner in 1942 after the fall of Singapore and died in Changi on 17 May 1942. However, apart from a cable to report his safe arrival in Singapore in 1942 (cable received in 1944), William's family received no further information until his death was confirmed in November 1945, the month after his wife had put an appeal for information in the Nottingham Evening Post. William Stanley is buried in Kranji War Cemetery, Singapore. Nottingham Evening Post, 19 November 1945: ‘Local Jottings. Gunner WS Gumsley, 351/88 Field Regiment, RA, whose wife lives at 37, Girton-road, Nottingham, died on May 17th, 1942, in Roberts Hospital, Changi, whilst a prisoner of war. He was buried at Changi military cemetery.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)
Remembered on


  • Commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium. (www.cwgc.org)
    William Gumsley - Commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium. (www.cwgc.org)