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Person Details
William Barnard (Billie) was the son of Richard and Lydia Duckett (nee Evans). Richard and Lydia had five children, Annie (b. Ditton Lancashire), Elizabeth C (b. Ditton Lancashire), Florence (b. Sheffield), Sydney (b. Sheffield) and William (b. Liverpool). Richard died young and in 1891 the widowed Lydia and her children were living with her widowed father, Robert Evans, in Halewood, Widnes, Lancashire. Lydia (33) was in work (occupation illegible on census form). Her children were all under the age of 11; Annie (11), Elizabeth (10), Florence (8), Sydney (6) and William (4). Also in the household was Lydia's unmarried brother, Thomas Evans (29), a blacksmith. Lydia and her children were still living in Halewood in 1901 but she was now head of household and no longer in work. In the home on the night of the census were Annie (21) and Elizabeth (20) who were both teachers, Florence (18), Sydney (16) a cashier's clerk and William (14). Thomas Evans was still living with the family. By 1911 Lydia (54) was living on Hale Road, Halebank, Widnes. Only three of her children were in the house on the night of the census: Elizabeth (29) who was still working as a school teacher, Sydney (26) who was now a clerk at a copper works and William (24) an assistant grocer. Thomas Evans (50) had remained in his sister's household. According to an 'In Memoriam' notice placed in the local paper in March 1919, William had joined the 18th Hussars on 13 August 1914 and then transferred to the Royal Horse Artillery/Royal Field Artillery. Although there is no record of his postings, he married Mabel ET Houghton ('Madge') in Nottingham in 1917 (marriage registered J/F/M). Mabel may have been the Edith Mabel T Houghton whose birth was registered in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, in 1892 (J/A/S). The marital home at the time of William's death in March 1918 was 67 Talbot Street, Nottingham. From details in a newspaper report in the September of that year his widow must have moved from Talbot Street soon after her bereavement as by September she was living at 192 Trent Boulevard, West Bridgford, Nottingham. Lydia was still living on Hale Road, Ditton, at the time of her son's death in 1918. Mabel remarried in 1939, husband Maurice Potter (marriage registered J/A/S Basford).
In 1911 he was an assistant grocer.
27 Mar 1918
1580208 - CWGC Website
Second Lieutenant
  • MC MC Military Cross
Royal Field Artillery
300th Bde. According to a notice of William's death in the local paper, he joined the 18th Hussars on 13 August 1914. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial (Panel 7 to 10).
Nottingham Evening Post, ‘Roll of Honour’, 11 April 1918: ‘Duckett. On March 27th, 1918, killed fighting with his battery William Barnard Duckett (Billie) Sec-Lieut. RFA, aged 31, the devoted husband and treasured companion of Mabel ET Duckett (née Madge Houghton), 67 Talbot-street, Nottingham, and dearly loved younger son of Mrs L Duckett, Hale-road, Ditton, Lancs. Ah love! could thou and I with Fate conspire to grasp this sorry scheme of things entire, Would not we shatter it to bits – and then Remould it nearer to our heart’s desire?’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Nottingham Evening Post, 23 September 1918: ‘West Bridgford Officer’s Military Cross. Mrs Duckett, of 192, Trent Boulevard, West Bridgford, widow of the late Second-Lieut. WB Duckett, RFA, has been presented with the Military Cross awarded to her husband for gallant conduct at Hargicourt, on March 8th. When his battery was in action, a premature explosion set fire to ammunition and camouflage. Regardless of personal safety, Lieut. Duckett extinguished the flames, which, but for his prompt action, would have destroyed the whole position. One dump of ammunition did catch fire, and many shells exploded, but he continued to work, at great risk to himself. He also organised the removal of a wounded man from the debris.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Nottingham Evening Post,’In Memoriam’, 27 March 1919: ‘Duckett. In proud and tender memory of Billie, Second-Lieut,. WB Duckett, MC, RFA, the dear treasured husband of MET Duckett, 192 Trent-boulevard, West Bridgford, Nottingham, and dearly-loved younger son of Mrs Duckett and the late Richard Duckett, Hale-road, Ditton, Lancs, who was killed fighting with his battery March 27th, 1918, and is buried at Harnonnieres. Joined 18th Hussars August 13th, 1914. God gently called, ‘My son, My son, I need thee for a greater work than this; thy faith, thy zeal, thy high activities, are worthy of My larger liberties.’ Then drew him with the hand of welcoming grace, and side by side they climbed the heavenly ways. – Madge.' (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) The citation for his Militray Cross was published in the 'London Gazette' on 13th May 1918: “2nd Lt. William Barnard Duckett, R.F.A., Spec. Res. “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. While his battery was in action a shell exploded prematurely, and set fire to some ammunition and camouflage. In spite of many exploding shells he extinguished the flames, which, but for his prompt action, would have destroyed the whole position. He set a magnificent example to his men.”
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