William Lyons from Buxton – ‘the man that got lost’

The War Diary entry for the 31st July 1918 simple records……

“One man missing from X.8.c.80.20. Thought to have been lost in the early morning”

Through sheer luck I can now report that this man was 2943/240815 Pte Willliam Lyons from Tideswall.

William was born in 1871 in Burbage and in the 1911 Census he is recorded as a general labourer in the lime industry lodging with the Belfield family at 30 Lime Terrace, Burbage in Buxton.

William enlisted into the 2/6th Sherwood Foresters in October 1914 and following basic training he arrived in France on the 25th June 1915 with the ‘1st Reserve’ Reinforcement.

William served with “A” Company was was wounded by shell fire in Ypres on 4th July 1915 – see here.

“On the Saturday night we went up to the lines on fatigue, and travelled up a long way in motor lorries; it was quite an exciting journey for us after we left the lorries to march through Ypres, especially as for many of us it was the first experience of the war. Fritz was sending over a few gas shells and we were all sneezing and rubbing our eyes. We drew spades and set off after a short rest, landed at the work, finished off fairly quickly and started for home – home consisting of bivvies made from water-proof sheets, and some of us hadn’t even got those. We had a pretty rough journey coming through Ypres, had just downed tools and started the march towards the houses, when Fritz began shelling; of course he managed to get a lucky shot right in the middle of us, killing and wounding about half the party, many of whom had not yet even seen the trenches”.

[Battalion History]

The casualties numbered thirty-two; nine men were killed or died of their wounds and another 23 were wounded.

Following his return to the 1/6th Battalion he was reported missing and recorded on a Red Cross Enquiry List dated 1.10.1918 as missing on 31.7.1918.

William was repatriated on the 3rd December 1918 and he was finally disembodied on 27th March 1919.

He died in July 1940 in Pontefract aged 69.

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