Private William Blatchford

Service Royal Marines Service No. PLY/1791(S)
Rank Private
Regiment:Royal Marine Light Infantry, 2nd Royal Marine Battalion
Date of Birth: 26/05/1891
Born Ipplepen
Date of Death: 26/10/1917
Memorial: Dawlish Memorial Inscription BLATCHFORD W. PTE. R.M.L.I.

Service History

William Blatchford may have been conscripted or he could have been an RMLI recruit when he enlisted on 12th February 1917. His papers show that he was a shepherd, baptised in the Church of England.

He was 5’ 10” tall with fresh complexion and blue eyes, and he was sent for training to the Royal Marine Depot, Deal, Kent until 27th May when he was transferred to the strength of the Plymouth Division.

It is likely that he went straight to one of the RND reserve battalions in training at Blandford Camp. The reinforcement draft in July 1917 was formed up at Blandford.

He embarked for France on the 30th June and arrived on 1st July and he was one of a party of 28 other ranks who joined the 2nd Royal Marine Battalion on 2nd September. The battalion then moved forward into support trenches between Gavrelle and Oppy.
William Blatchford was reported "Missing" and later "assumed dead",on 26th October 1917.  It seems probable that he was part of the assault to capture positions west of and across the Paddebeek stream.

See Documents below for further detail.

Association with Dawlish

William Blatchford was the son of a farmer, John Blatchford *, and had been working as a shepherd until he enrolled in the Royal Marines at Exeter on 12th February 1917.

John Blatchford (1850-1930) married Ann Creber(1849-1901) on 1 May 1875. She was also from a farming family, at Sheepstor, and the daughter of John and Elizabeth Creber.

In 1881 they were established at North Huish, Totnes district, with three children.

In 1891 they had moved to Lylesford, Ipplepen where they had four more children.

In 1901 they were established at Hensford Farm House, Dawlish, with two more children:

William, son, 9 born Ipplepen

Grace, dau, 6 “

Ann had died early in the year and John Blatchford was now a widower and working his farm as an employer in his own account. There were six sons and three daughters, the eldest, Ida Mary being shown as “Housekeeper duties”. The five oldest boys are shown as farm workers, at home.

Ten years later, in 1911 still at Hensford Farm, the three oldest children had left home and John Blatchford is still employer of the four younger sons with Emmaline taking over the role of housekeeper.  (further detail in 'Documents' below)

Devon Roll of Honour Blatchford,. William, Pte, R.M.L.I., 26th Oct 1917
Additional Information Commonwealth War Graves Site

Next of Kin: John Blatchford, father
Last Known Address: Hensford Farm House, Dawlish

Royal Marine Light Infantry badge

Free Birth Marriage Death records

National Archive, Kew for R.M. service record

Fleet Air Arm Museum for personnel records

Refs via susbcription websites:

Census data

Probate records

Devon Heritage site for Dawlish War Memorial

UK, RN & RM War Graves Roll

Ware family tree (