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William Stewart, known as Stewart, was the son of William Thomas Pickbourne and Kate Pickbourne nee Bradley. His father was a Methodist lay preacher. William Thomas (b. Kirkby in Ashfield) and Kate were married on 30 November 1887 (marriage registered O/N/D Basford). He and Kate had five sons: Sidney/Sydney Bradley (birth registered 1889 J/F/M) and Wilfred Maurice (b. 1890) who were both born in Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, and William Stewart (birth registered J/F/M), Frank Edward (b. 1894) and Arthur Leslie (b. 6 August 1897) who were all born in Northampton. In 1891 William (30), a commercial traveller, and Kate (30) were in their home at 13 Agnes Road, Northampton with their 6 month old son, Wilfred Maurice. Also in the household was thirteen year-old Beatrice Renshaw, a general domestic servant. At the time of the census their eldest son, Sydney Bradley, was at his maternal grandmother's home at Ash Farm, Sutton Road, Kirkby-in-Ashfield. The widowed Mary Bradley (63) was described as a farmer. By 1901 the family was living at 2 Stanley Terrace, Northampton. William Thomas was now a colliery agent. He and Kate had five sons; Sydney (12), Wilfred (10), Stewart (8), Frank (6) and Arthur (3). They were still in Northampton in 1911 but were now living at 22 Giltbrook House, Hester Street. Apart from Arthur (13) who was still at school all the boys were at work; Sidney (22) was described as his father's assistant - William Thomas was still working as a colliery agent, Wilfred (20) was a salesman for a builder's merchant, William (18) was a clerk for a shoe machinery company and Frank (16) was an apprentice to a printer. William Thomas and Kate later returned to Nottingham, and in March 1918 moved to Lebanon House, 5 Wildman Street, Nottingham, although by 1920 when their second son Wilfred was discharged from the army, they were living at 3 Chaworth Road, West Bridgford. Sidney and Wilfred continued to live in the family home until their own deaths in 1964 and 1954 respectively. William's older brother, Wilfred, served at home in the Army Pay Corps from 12 March 1915 until his deferred discharge on 27 April 1920. Frank, who joined the Northamptonshire Yeomanry in 1913 and joined up in 1914, later served with the Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry) (169435 Private). He died of pneumonia in Alexandria, Egypt, on 17 October 1918 aged 24 (Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery). The youngest brother, Arthur, served with the Machine Gun Corps (58340 Private) in France and was wounded by shrapnel at Messines in June 1917. He was evacuated to England, returning to France on his recovery. It is believed that the eldest son, Sidney, was unfit for military service. Their mother, Kate, died in 1924 aged 64 and their father, William Thomas, died on 3 July 1932; his sons Wilfred, a colliery clerk, and Arthur, a removal and ticket clerk, were his executors. Wilfred died on 11 February 1954; his two surviving brothers, Sidney, 'of no occupation', and Arthur, post office official, were his executors. Although Wilfred never married his father recorded in his diary on 22 September 1917 that Wilfred 'is now happily engaged to a Miss Elsie Smith of Bristol, a niece of the Mr Smith with whom he has lodged so long at Salisbury [while serving with the Army Pay Corps].’ Sidney died on 22 September 1964. Arthur Leslie was the only one of the brothers to marry, marrying Lily Cockerill in 1923 (marriage registered A/M/J Northampton); Lily was mentioned as Arthur's 'young lady' in an entry in his father's diary on 22 June 1918. Arthur and Lily had two daughters, Pamela (b 1926) and Shirley (b 1929). Arthur became a postman in Bournemouth and Poole in 1948 and was still living in the area when he died in 1970 at the age of 72. His widow Lily (b. 4 August 1896) died the following year.
In 1911 he was a clerk to a shoe machinery company
19 Apr 1917
164667 - CWGC Website
He enlisted in Northampton
Lance Corporal
Northamptonshire Regiment
William served in the 1/4th Bn Northamptonshire Regiment. He served in the Balkans from 29 July 1915 and was killed in action on 19 April 1917 (death presumed on or about 19 April). He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Jerusalem Memorial. He qualified for the 1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
Probate: Pickbourne William Stewart of Lebanon House 5 Wildman-street Nottingham lance-corporal in HM Army died on or since 19 April 1917 at Gaza Palestine Administration Nottingham 3 September to William Thomas Pickbourne colliery agent. Effects £100. Registers of Soldiers' Effects: His father was his legatee. Stewart's personal effects were returned to his parents in November 1918. These comprised a handkerchief, a Gillette safety razor, a wristlet watch and a knife and cigarette case. Stewart's father, Thomas William Pickbourne, kept a detailed journal and the following extracts are taken from his diaries which are deposited in Nottinghamshire Archives ref. DD2560/1/5 (April 1909-April 1916) and DD2560/1/6 (April 1916-1920). Entries from the diaries have also been included in the T2T record for Frank Pickbourne, Stewart's brother, who died in October 1918. Thomas and Kate had to endure a wait of over a year after receiving the first report that their son was missing in action in April 1917 before receiving confirmation of his death in July 1918. 21 September 1914: ‘Had a letter from Stewart at Bury St Edmund today where he is with his regiment.’ 28 September 1914: ‘Today too we hear from Stewart. He says he has been moved out of the Barn where he had to lie on a concrete floor to another place where he is much more comfortable. He too says he is quite well * he sends us his photo in which he really does look happy & well. May God protect and defend them both and all the others brave soldier & sailor lads who have so gallantly gone out to the help of old England in her hour of need.’ 9 October 1914: ‘Stewart writes us from Boyton near Bury St Edmunds saying he is now lodged in a farm and much more comfortable.’ 19 October 1914: ‘Daisy York, Stewart’s young lady, & I went over to Bury St Edmunds where he is located to see him & get to know how he is going on. Glad to say I found him well & looking very fit & strong. Physically he is all right & I pray that he may be kept all right morally & spiritually.’ 23 November 1914: ‘Stewart is now at Thetford near Norwich & he too seems comfortable as regards his lodgings which is a very good thing.’ 28 December 1914:’Stewart surprised us on Saturday night by turning up quite unexpectedly about 10.30pm. He only knew about half an hour before he started that he was at liberty to come home. He went a telegram to his young lady, Miss Daisy York, asking her to meet him at Npton [Northampton] Castle Sta. She brought it up to us about 9 o’clock & Wilfred & she went down to meet him. He looks well and fit and seems to have filled out and broadened very much. Frank too came home on Saturday just as we were at dinner. So once more in the mercy of God we were all at home together at Xmas. 15 February 1915: ‘I heard from Stewart last week. He has had a ‘move’. He was told to report himself at the Headquarters of the Northants Regt at Bury St Edmunds where he was required to enter the Office and do type writing & clerking work generally. He does not particularly care for it but I tell him it will mean a permanency and will also mean that he will not have to go to the front & fight, he had better settle down with it & do the best he can.’ 29 March 1915: ‘On Saturday we were very delighted to welcome our soldier son Stewart home for a 4 days leave. He looks wonderfully well and is well, I believe. He tells us he has been inoculated twice & that the second time he felt no ill effects except that his arm was very stiff. He goes back on Wednesday.’ 25 May 1915: ‘Wilfred came home on Thursday night, Stewart on Friday & Frank on Saturday for a few house so we had all our soldier boys at home for tea on Saturday, We were very pleased indeed thus to see them all at home, it may be for the last time as Stewart says they are shortly leaving the country. He & Wilfred go back today.’ 12 July 1915: ‘On Saturday we heard rather ominous news from Stewart. He told me the Regt 1/4 Northants with which he is identified went under orders to proceed to the Dardanelles at the end of this month & today he has come home for 5 days before being sent away. Thus the horrible spectre of war draws nearer to us and we too shall now begin to feel anxious as to the future. Whilst the boys are training & at home in England we do not trouble so much but the ‘Dardanelles’, the ‘Front’ & the ‘Trenches’ have a very terrible set of associations.’ 17 July 1915: ‘Well, Stewart has had his 5 days leave and has gone back to his billet at St Albans. I bid him goodbye yday morning at 7.10 [am] … I commended him to the care and keeping of the Almighty Father and trust that it may please Him to allow him to come back safely. I understand the Rgt moves week after next.’ 2 August 1915: ‘War was declared a year ago tomorrow Aug 4 … 3 of my own boys are enlisted and one of them, Stewart, is even now on his way to that dreadful slaughter house the Dardanelles!’ 17 August 1915 ‘We have heard from Stewart. A letter came last Friday posted ‘somewhere’, I believe Gibraltar. Anyway he writes saying they had had a good voyage, no storm, attacked by no submarine, no sickness. He was enjoying the new experience very much. But the horrible time will be when he arrives there and has to fight. May God preserve him.’ 8 September 1915: ‘Stewart at the Dardanelles on Monday week. He tells us he was well & safe when he sent the PC (Aug 19) but had had 2 or 3 very minor escapes. May God preserve him.’ 14 September 1915: ‘Have had another letter from Stewart. It arrived on Friday morning last, dated Aug 20th. He wrote it in a ‘dug out’ amid shot and shrapnel. He had not had a wash or a shave for a week and was suffering from thirst. They cannot get water there at present. His major, a man named Goacher, was wounded the same day as he passed Stewart’s letter as censor Aug 23.’ 2 September 1915: ‘Had a letter from Stewart this morning. He says he had his rifle smashed by a shrapnel shell but he himself is uninjured. This is surely an answer to prayer! Says he is well in health but pushed almost to death with flies.’ 15 October 1915: ‘Heard from Stewart on Friday & Frank on Saturday, both are well, thank God!’ 1 November 1915: ‘We are beginning to feel anxious to hear from Stewart again. This is the 3rd week since he sent us his last communication & that was a PC.’ 12 November 1915: ‘Last week we had a glad surprise. A letter came from Stewart on Tuesday. One on Thursday and on the Saturday morning two letters and a PC came all by the same post! So that in 4 days we got 5 letters from him. We were delighted. Two of them were posted in Sept. and of course we ought to have had them weeks ago & the other w were sent off during Oct. one on the 9th & the other on the 23rd. The one on the 9th was really a most interesting & vivid a/c of the landing of the1/4 Batt. of the Northants Reg. on the Gallipoli Peninsula on Aug 15. Stewart has a most delightful & realistic way of writing & his description of the landing, the scenes on the beach, the march to the trenches & the awful scenes of that terrible battle are most wonderful … Glad to say Stewart was well when he wrote that last letter. He is now a Lce Corpl.’ 16 November 1915: ‘Had a letter from Stewart last Sunday week. He was fairly well when he wrote on Nov 7th.’ 27 December 1915: ‘Last week the long silence was broken as regards Stewart. He sent us a Field PC on which he said he was well, had received our letters of a certain date & was writing later. So we live in hope of hearing from him every day. He is among the Troops who have been moved away from Suvla Bay & on part of the Gallipoli Peninsula to some destination unknown. We were hoping it would be Egypt to which he might have been sent but I fear it will be Salonica & if so they will soon be in the very thick of fighting again as the Germans & Turks if not the Bulgarians are threatening to rush that (-) and sweep us all into the sea.’ 3 January 1916: ‘We do not know for certain where Stewart is yet. We certainly got a Field PC from him last week on which was printed the words, ‘I am quite well;’ and with that we must be content. God grant that he may come thro safe & sound.’ 10 January 1916: ‘Am very glad to be able now to say that at last we have heard from Stewart. He is at Alexandria … The East Anglian Division (in which Stewart was) along with all the Australians and Zealanders with all their animals, guns, baggage, ammunition & stores of every kind was taken off & got clear away right under the very noses of the Turks … And so now Stewart and the rest of what is left of the Northants Regt is recuperating in the sunshine of Alexandria. He writes in high spirits & speaks of coming home end of this month or beginning of Feb. I only hope it may be true.’ 7 February 1916: ‘Heard from Stewart last week. Glad to say he is much better now.’ 19 February 1916: ‘Had a letter from Stewart this am. He is (-) Cairo Egypt and within 2 miles of the far famed pyramids. The Regt. has moved away from Alexandria and is now on the edge of the desert. It is wonderful!’ 8 March 1916: ‘Had a packet of Picture Post Cards from Stewart this morning, showing views of Cairo, the Pyramids etc very interesting but no letter.’ 12 May 1917. Entry annotated in the margin, ‘Stuart missing!’ ‘And now I have very sad news to chronicle. On Wednesday morning last a letter from Kate [wife] with the mournful news. Stewart is officially declared to have been missing since April 19th! Rumour says that his detachment advanced too far & that they were surrounded by the Turks and quite a number of the 1/4 Northants are missing! This is terrible! Only last week we had 2 beautiful cheery letters from him, one for Ma and one for me. He (-) how he was now in a lovely country, with waving cornfields, green grass & singing birds reminding him of dear old home and now !-! He may be captured or wounded or killed! We do not know.’ 19 May 1917: ‘The mark of sorrow & distress on which I finished my last entry is still unrelieved! We have heard nothing further! Bits of odd rumours keep cropping up about the Regt. & its disastrous attempt to outflank the Turks, but no news about or from Stewart himself. All we can do is to pray & wait & hope. Also like so many hundreds and thousands of others.’ 28 May 1917: ‘We heard a little news on Stewart yesterday! Percy Holton, the son of one of my old boys at Regent Sq. wrote to his father & mother last week & told them that the dr. connected with the RAMC had told him, Percy, that Stewart was wounded and in one of our hospitals near Gaza. This then is good news as far as it goes. 1st it means he was not killed. 2nd he was not captured & that he is being attended to by our own people. Thank God.’ 4 June 1917: ‘Another week has passed & still no news from Stewart. Our hopes ran high last week-end after hearing what we did but hitherto nothing has some. Surely it cannot be long before we hear something now.’ 11 June 1917: ‘Once more I have to confess I have no news to send on Stewart. Our hearts are very heavy with anxiety & fear but we must keep hoping for the best. My wife feels the strain very much & it tells on me too.’ 16 June 1917: This has been a trying week! On Wednesday morning I got a letter from Kate enclosing a PC from France saying that Arthur had been wounded in the tremendous action near Messines on the 8th & was in a Base Hospital. The PC [postcard] was not written by Arthur himself & of course the inference was that he was badly wounded & was therefore unable to write himself. Coming on top of poor Stewart’s affair this seemed awful & almost paralysing. However, today I got a letter from Wilfred in which he says he had a PC written by Arthur himself giving the information that he was going on alright. This has relieved our minds somewhat & we hope that he will be sent to England to recover. Still the strain is very great & we (-) to put the whole case into the hands of God who is the God of all consolation & comfort to us in our tribulation.’ 23 June 1917: ‘In a letter received this week from Sgt Jones one of poor Stewart’s old-time comrades to whom I wrote immediately we heard of Stewart being missing. I mark the following sad & fateful words, ‘To be perfectly candid Mr Pickbourne, I have it on the best authority that there can be no slightest doubt that Stewart was killed on that awful day Apl 19th. Many are missing but only 3 taken prisoners. These latter were almost immediately reported by list dropped from enemy aeroplane. This is the custom the Turks adopt for notifying us of men taken by them. A number of those reported missing at the same time as your son have since been proved to have been killed. Their identity discs have been recovered from their bodies by night patrols. In this way proof of Stewart’s death may be forthcoming still.’ So our last hope is quenched! Stewart’s bright eager & beautiful life has ebbed out on the sands of the desert before Gaza & another (-) added to the millions of innocent people whose dead bodies strew the world as the result of the insensible pride & arrogance of the Kaiser. God have mercy on us! It is awful!’ 8 October 1917: ‘No news of Stewart yet.’ 8 December 1917: ‘Last Friday week, Nov 30th, was the 30th anniversary of our Wedding Day. What changes since that brilliant moonlight night as long ago when Kate and I walked from Ash Farm down to our little nest at Elm Hill, Kirkby! Ah we little thought that we should have 5 sons, that 4 of them would be in the army & that one would be ‘missing’! – alas son Stewart. We saw a report in the paper this week that our army had been going over again the very ground on which the fatal battle was fought Apl 19th & that they found the bodies of no less than 60 of our gallant lads of the1/4 Northants. I wonder if Stewart was among them! We await with what patience we can a record of the names of those they found & buried. 3 oficers were named but none of the non coms or privates were mentioned they will be made known later.’ 11 February 1918: ‘Heard from the Secretary of war last week in my enquiry about Stewart. They say they have failed to elicit any further news of his whereabouts & are reluctantly compelled to the conclusion that he cannot possibly be alive, but they are not in a position to certify he is dead. So the matter remains where it was.’ 17 April 1918: ‘We heard from Frank last Saturday after a silence of some 6 or 7 weeks – he is in Egypt, where of course we do not know. He is now brigaded with the Duke of Lancasters Own Yeomanry & it is quite possible being in Egypt they will be sent on to Palestine to help in our successful campaign there against the Turks. Also that reminds me that it will be just a year next Friday that poor Stewart was reported as ‘missing’ – Only yesterday I got a letter from the SA Military League into whose hands we had put his case, saying they had had no success whatever in attempting to grace him & must now consider him as dead. The same thing in effect was reported by the Red Cross some weeks ago. Alas poor Stewart.’ 21 July 1918, entry annotated in the margin ‘Letter re Stewart’s death from War Office’: ‘We have news from the War Office that now at last poor Stewart must be presumed dead.’ 6 August 1918: ‘Today is my boy Arthur’s 21st birthday, oh how the years roll on!’ He recalls the anniversary of the outbreak of war, ‘Headlines of the news shout ‘England Declares War on Germany’, Oh what a time it was then followed Frank’s mobilization, poor Stewart’s enlistment .. then Wilfred’s enlistment, then Arthur. Now Stewart is dead. Frank is in Egypt, Arthur has been wounded & Wilfred is in the APC at Salisbury & we here!’ 2 November 1918: By now the family had heard that Frank had died in Alexandria of pneumonia on 17 October. ‘By nearly every Post every day this week letters have come from all over the land, one yesterday from Sunderland, 1 the day before from Buckingham, 1 today from Lincoln etc etc all breathing words of comfort & sympathy. It really is most affecting & most uplifting to think that we live in the hearts & prayers of so many of Gods’ people. It would be a gross sin to act as if we were shorn of hope & comfort & as if all were lost. It is a terrible blow I know, but others are infinitely worse off than we. We have 3 boys left us. Loving, helpful good boys, all serving God & all bravely trying to help us! I have been reading in the British Weekly today of the case of Dr Brown , ex Moderator of the Church of Scotland, who has lost all his 4 sons, all killed in battles and there are other equally sad cases … Besides, I feel it as a matter for proud thankfulness that both these boys, in fact all 4, who are in the Army, all went of their own free will, each heard the call of duty, the call of Country & as * believe the call of God & went forth, not counting their lives dear to them. And they died nobly.’ 4 November 1918: ‘Today we have received poor Stewart’s things he left behind at the Base when he went into action that fatal day at Gaza – a handkerchief, a Gillette safety razor, a wristlet watch and a knife & cigarette case, the latter battered out of all recognition. Alas poor dear boy. And yet I believe he is with the Lord & therefore better off. So we must take comfort.’ 7 January 1919: ‘Have just had a letter from the Baptist Chaplain who attended poor Frank in his last illness … He is buried in Hadra cemetery Alexandria, a little cross with his name & no. at his head & there he sleeps till the resurrection morn when I trust that he & Stewart & all of us will meet to part no more.’
Remembered on