William Bruce HAWORTH
Rank: Private
Number: 42687
Date of Death: 13 October 1918
Age: 18
Cemetery: Ypres Reservoir Cemetery, Ieper, Belgium

Although his service number suggests William probably enlisted into the army underage in about 1916, it is most unlikely that he would have gone overseas on active service until the regulation age of 18. He was the second son of James Haworth, a plumber, and Rebecca Haworth.

Both William and his older brother, Richard, had been born in Crewe but, in 1900 or early 1901, the family moved to 14 Wadsworth Street in the Cheetham area of Manchester. Their only known connection with the local area dates from after the War. In the early 1920s, when the War Graves Commission collated its casualty information, Mr & Mrs Haworth were living at 5 Oakley Villas, Green Lane, Heaton Moor and, around the same time, arranged for William's name to be inscribed on the local War Memorial. It is possible that William never lived in the area and, indeed, enlisted into the army at Crewe.

On 10 October, the Battalion left billets at Ypres going into positions at Westhoek. During the afternoon of the 11th, they marched to advanced positions at Ledeghem taking over the sector of the front line by 9.30pm. Around dawn on the 12th, there was some enemy shelling but it was relatively quiet morning. In the early evening, the men form "C" and "D" Companies went out into No Man's Land to cut gaps in the protective barbed wire in preparation for a further advance.

Around 11pm, the British artillery fired gas shells at the Germans. There was some slight hostile shelling in retaliation wounding five men, including William. He was evacuated away from the front line but died soon afterwards before he could reach a field hospital. He will have been buried close to where he died. After the War, many of these small burial areas near the front line were closed as the land was returned to civilian use. William's body was probably exhumed and reburied at the greatly extended Ypres Reservoir Cemetery, where his grave is now tended by the War Graves Commission.

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