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  • Buried in Faubourg d"Amiens Cemetery
Person Details
Trinidad, West Indies.
William Henry Bonser (junior) was born in 1889 he was the son of William Henry (senior) a shot firer in a colliery and his first wife Honora Bonser née Casbolt. Honora Elizabeth Casbolt was born in 1867 at Spanish Point, Bermuda, but was a British subject and she had died in 1905. They were married in the West Indies and had 6 children, sadly 3 died in infancy or early childhood. His father remarried in 1905 at Mansfield to his second wife Mary Alderman they lived at 1 Cursham Terrace, Park Road, Mansfield Woodhouse in 1911 William Henry (senior) is 50 yrs of age and is a shot firer in a colliery, he is living with his second wife Mary 52 yrs and his 6 children including William Henry (junior) 22 yrs a platelayer in a colliery. William Henry (junior) married Eliza Thompson (born 23rd April 1891 ) in 1911 at Mansfield, they lived at 2 Little Lane, Pleasley Hill, they had a daughter Frances Elizabeth born 9th February 1914. Commencing 8th January 1917 his widow was awarded a pension of 13 shillings a week.
Platelayer in a colliery
23 Jun 1916
283527 - CWGC Website
1 Cursham Terrace, Park Road, Mansfield Woodhouse.
Acting Corporal
6th Bn King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Acting Corporal William Henry Bonser enlisted on 26th August 1914 at Doncaster he served in France from 22nd May 1915. He was killed in action on 23rd June 1916. He had been recommended for a DCM. He is buried at Faubourg d"Amiens Cemetery, Arras, France.
William's father had served for 12 years in the army and presumable had been stationed in the West Indies were he met and married Honora. William snr re-enlisted in Sept 1914 at the grand-old age of 53 and served with the special reserve of the Lincolnshire Regiment. 3 of William's brothers also served Ernest and Harold had been discharged as no-longer physically fit leaving Albert also serving with the KOYLI. “LANCE-CORPL. BONSER, OF MANSFIELD WOODHOUSE KILLED. “The news of the death of Lance-Corporal William Henry Bonser, whose father and three brothers are all doing splendid service or their home and country, was received with widespread regret. The gallant hero of the K.O.Y.L.I., who only three weeks ago was recommended for the D.C.M., was killed in action on the 23rd June, and buried the following day in the presence of his brother Albert, and other comrades. The letter bearing the sad intelligence was delayed in delivery, and did not reach his home at 1, Cursham-terrace until the 29th. The letter was as follows: – “43rd Infantry Brigade, France. “24th June, 1916. “I regret to report that your son, Lance-Corporal W. H. Bonser, was killed in action on the 23rd June, 1916. I laid his body to rest in the military cemetery this evening. His brother and other comrades were present at the graveside. My deepest sympathy goes out to you and his other relatives in your bereavement. When the bitterness of the sorrow is past the thought that he died for others will be your solace. – Yours sincerely, R. S. Hipwell, C.F.” [1] “He enlisted soon after the outbreak of hostilities, and was drafted to France about 18 months ago. He has had only one leave during that time. He was a splendid soldier and no doubt had a bright future. “His father, Sergt. W. H. Bonser, [2] who is a drill instructor in the Yorks and Lancs., and who is now a section-sergeant in Woodcote Convalescent Hospital at Epson, [sic] has had several days leave since receiving the sad news. He returned to his unit on Wednesday. [5th July 1916] Sergt. Bonser's other sons are Lance-Corporal Albert James, [3] now fighting near Verdun; Ernest Edward [4] a private in the 1st Lincs., and Harold, [5] also in the Lincs. “Ernest has done service at the Dardanelles, and has been out to France twice. Whilst in the Dardanelles he had enteric fever and jaundice, and suffered with frost bitten feet in France. Since hearing of his brother's death he has expressed the wish to go out again. Harold was wounded in the right arm and thighs in the fight at Neuve Chapelle. Albert and his deceased brother have been together in the trenches. They were all connected wit the St. Edmund's Church. William Henry and Albert were teachers in the Sunday school, the following letters speak for themselves as to the character of the brave fellow, who leaves a widow and one child, aged two years: – “24th June, 1916. “Dear Mrs. Bonser, – You will doubtless have received ere this the official intimation of the death of your husband, Lance-Corpl. W. H. Bonser. He was one of my N.C.O.'s, and I feel I must express to you my deepest sympathy in your bereavement. Your husband was in charge of one of our Company detachments of bombers, and his charge was one which he always carried out faithfully and well. It was in the carrying out of his duties as detachment commander that he met his death. He was working with his squad when he was hit by a bullet from a German sniper – death being almost instantaneous. His loss is one which the whole battalion feels, and the bombers in particular know they have lost in him one of the most trustworthy and bravest of squad leaders. He was always ready and willing to undertake the dangerous work of patrols. He was a soldier – truly a brave soldier – and in his death the army has sustained a tangible loss which our battalion in particular feels. Again, I ask on behalf of the bombers of the battalion and my brother officers our deepest sympathy in your bereavement, and remain, yours respectfully, Hugh D. Davidson, 2nd-Lieut., 6th Bttn., KO.Y.L.I.” [6] “A letter from Lieut. Clegg [7] reads: – “I very much regret to have to inform you that your husband was killed by a rifle bullet on Friday last whilst superintending the erection of a bomb post in one of our communication trenches. I know that this news will come as a terrible shock to you and cause you unknown sorrow. Words of mine can do little, if at all, to alleviate the pain and sorrow which, I am sure, you will suffer through your husband's death, but having been in intimate association with him for the past ten months as the battalion bomb officer or at any rate until I vacated this post three weeks ago. I feel that I should like to say a few words in appreciation of his work here. As a soldier he was very much above the average, and had he been more ambitious and less anxious to remain with his personal friends he could have gone far in the way of promotion. In fact, he as acting Corporal at the time of his death. All last winter he worked side by side with myself in the [Ypres] Salient. He never exhibited signs of fear, but was always ready to go forward with a view to doing useful reconnoitering work. I may say that many less deserving in this war have received distinction and reward. But then all the deserving do not receive their just rewards. But what struck me about your late husband was his great manliness. I often used to tell him that he was a great philosopher. He never swore, which having to the conditions of life here is remarkable. He never complained unless it was to improve the lot of others, and not himself. He believed that he was fighting or some big thing which mattered more than all others, and he went to his death imbued with this idea. He died as few men get the chance, to die fighting to save a world's morality. He died the noblest death a man may die, fighting for God, for right and liberty, and such a death is immortality. I need hardly tell you that these lines are particularly appropriate in the case of your lost one. All that I can say more is to ask you not to grieve too much for him, but try and believe that his death cut short a great and noble career.” “A number of beautiful letters were received from his comrades.” [8] Born in Trinidad, enlisted at Doncaster, he was the son of William Henry and Mary Bonser, living at 11 Cursham Terrace, Park Road, Mansfield Woodhouse. [1] Richard Senior Hipwell, C.F., O.B.E., first saw service on the Gallipoli peninsula, landing there on 24th July 1915. His medals were sent to him at Altonville, Maryborough, Ireland. [2] Sgt. William Henry Bonser, York & Lancaster Regiment, was a time-expired soldier when he re-enlisted at Mansfield on 21st September 1914. He transferred to Class 'W' Reserve, returning the mines, on 27th November 1916 and finally discharged on 14th December 1918. [3] L/Cpl. Albert James Bonser, 6th Battalion King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, later C.S.M., 2nd Battalion Royal Fusiliers. [4] Pte. Ernest Edward Bonser enlisted on 3rd September 1914; landed in France on 26th January 1915 as a reinforcement to 1st Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment. At some time he transferred to 6th Battalion, serving with them on the Gallipoli peninsula. He was discharged due to wounds on 17th October 1917. [5] Pte. Harold Bonser enlisted on 2nd September 1914; landed in France on 23rd February 1915 as a reinforcement to 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment; and was discharged due to wounds on 8th August 1916. [6] Second Lieutenant Hugh Doughlas Davidson, 6th Battalion King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, was killed in action on 28th August 1916. Buried in Delville Wood Cemetery, Longueval, he was the 23 year-old son of James and Margaret Davidson, of 4 Regent Street, Hartlepool. [7] Captain James Clegg, 6th Battalion King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, was killed in action on 16th September 1916. Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, he was the son of S. Clegg, of 107 Queen Street, Morley, near Leeds. [8] 'Mansfield Reporter & Sutton Times,' 7th July 1916. Above research and information is all courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
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  • Buried in Faubourg d"Amiens Cemetery
    William Henry Bonser - Buried in Faubourg d"Amiens Cemetery