Corporal William John Black

Service Army Service No. 34500
Rank Corporal
Regiment:Worcestershire Regiment, 6th Battalion
Date of Birth: 1888
Born Bovey Tracey
Date of Death: 11/11/1919
Memorial: Not Listed Memorial Inscription

Service History

William enlisted in the 5th Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment, Territorials on 3 May 1909 at Plymouth at the age of 21, when he was working as a Draper’s assistant in 14 Cornwall Street, Plymouth. He signed on for four years with a service number of 1920.

There are no service records from WW1, but the Medal Roll Index Card shows that he was first attached to the 2nd Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment, and later to the 6th Battalion. The 2nd Battalion was a regular army battalion that was based at Aldershot at the outbreak of war and then landed at Boulogne on the 9 September 1914. Their campaign during the war took them across the Western Front. It seems likely that William Black was wounded at some point and transferred to the 6th Battalion which was stationed first at Worcester, then Plymouth and Harwich where they stayed until the end of the war. There would have been a training role for soldiers returning from France. William was promoted to Acting Corporal.

Corporal William J Black died at Worcester Military Hospital, Norton Barracks, Kempsey from broncho pneumonia from which he had suffered for 12 days. It was the anniversary of the Armistice. (GRO ref 1919 Dec, Pershore, Worcs, vol 6c, p 185). He was awarded the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.

Association with Dawlish

William John Black was born in Bovey Tracey and appears first (age 3) on the census for 1891 living with his mother, Susan A Black, and grandparents, Samuel and Ann Loveys, at 9 Brunswick Place, Dawlish with a sister, Polly, 6.

The 1891 census for 9 Brunswick Place, Dawlish does not show the father but the mother Susan A Black is shown as married, living with her parents and William is a scholar. In the following ten years the father appears to have died and the 1911 census also shows that Susan Ann Black was a widow living with her youngest child, Polly, at 7 East Street, Newton Abbot. The common name of John Black offers a number of registered deaths in the period 1888-1901. He may have sought work elsewhere and died outside Devon.

See ' Documents - life story' for family background.

Susan Ann Black died in 1938, aged 81. (GRO ref 1938, June, N.A., vol 5b, p 206).

By 1911 William had moved to London and was a Drapers Assistant and boarding at 60 Grove Road, St John’s Wood.


Devon Roll of Honour
Additional Information Commonwealth War Graves Site

Next of Kin: Susan Ann Black, mother
Last Known Address: 60 Grove Road, St John’s Wood, London NW

Willaim John Black grave in Dawlish Cemetery

Worcestershire Regiment, badge

Free BMD refs

Forces War Records


Refs from subscription websites:

Census returns; WW1 Army Pensions Records; WW1 Medal Roll Index Cards