William John Purnell

Memorial: South Gloucestershire war dead not on a local memorial

Regiment: South Lancashire Regiment

Medals: 1914–15 Star, British War Medal, Next of Kin Memorial Plaque 1914 - 1921, Silver War Badge, Victory Medal

Rank and number: Private 14425

Parents: Stephen and Mary Jane Purnell

Home address: 3 Nelson Street, Bedminster Down, Bristol

Pre-war occupation: Coal Miner

Date of birth: 1892

Place of birth: Thornbury, Bristol

Date of death: 02/08/1917

Buried/Commemorated at: No known burial site. Commemorated on Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Not commemorated on a local memorial.

Age: 25

Further information:

William was born in Thornbury, the only son and second eldest child of a licensee at The Black Horse, Gillingstool. William had five sisters. By 1901 the family had moved to live in Bristol, where William’s father worked as a mason’s labourer and all five sisters were still living at home at the time of William’s death.

William enlisted in the army in September 1914 in Abertridwr, Glamorgan and at the time was described as 5’6 ¼ “ tall and weighing 9st 1lb with blue eyes, brown hair and a sallow complexion. He was posted to France at the end of September 1915 and with his regiment fought in various actions on the Western Front including the Battles of the Somme in 1916.

William was killed in action during the Battle of Passchendaele (31 July – 10 November 1917) the result of which was indecisive at a cost to the allies of around 400,000 casualties. William’s body was never identified and the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, where he is remembered, bears the names of more than 54,000 soldiers who died in Belgium and have no known grave. William’s personal effects that were sent to his family after his death included photos, letters and a religious book.

By kind permission, this information is based on the following source(s):

This information has been provided by Sarah Hands, Volunteer Researcher for the South Gloucestershire War Memorials Web Site.
By kind permission, this information is based on the following source(s):