The Men from Hyde – William Tyler

William Tyler’s early life mirrors that of his younger brother Frederick although he is less visible in the records. He was born in 1890 in the parish of St Peters’ Colebrook Street but on his army records his residence is left blank. They moved such a lot as a family that keeping track of who was born where might have been hard. In the census of 1901 the Tyler family minus the father (deceased) are living at Duke Street Micheldever with Leonora’s brother, Henry Taylor, his wife, Mary Ann and their 4 children aged between 5 and 15 years. One of these is named William and is 8 years old but our William would have been eleven. Perhaps he was small for his age and his age forgotten.

By the time of the next census in 1911 William and his brother Frederick, but not the other Tyler children, are living at 16, King Alfred Place with Walter Smeath aged 44 years and Mary his wife. They are described as stepsons so it seems as if their mother, Leonora has died or has made arrangements for them to be brought up as if the sons of Mrs Smeath, presumably his aunt.

Following schooling locally, William was employed by Mr. Merridan of Andover Road. Like his brother, William was a social chap and keen on exercise. He was a member of the Hyde Gymnastics Class and was a playing member of the Winchester Football Club, principally as a goal-keeper.

His army record shows that his Service Number was 200595 and a Private in the 1/4th (T.F.) Hampshire Regiment. Following enlistment he was shipped to India for further training where he distinguished himself physically winning two medals for club-swinging.  In one of which contests he swung clubs for thirteen hours without a break. So clearly a man of great stamina and determination. and was with the troops sent to Mesopotamia alongside Ghurkas and Indian troops. William survived some very difficult times but in February 1917 William was badly wounded rowing Ghurka troops across the River Tigirs at the Battle of Shumran Bend.

He was entitled to the British War and Victory Medals.

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