William Herridge’s family were all born and bred in Winchester. His father Charles lived at 9 Hyde Close when young, working as a baker. His mother Eliza lived at 17 Wales Street and worked as a domestic servant. They may well have met in Wales Street, since 3 doors away was another Herridge family, possibly relatives of Charles Herridge.
Charles married Martha, Eliza’s sister, in 1883, and they had two children; Charles and Ellen. Unfortunately, Martha died of a childbirth related illness in 1885 and Charles went on to marry Eliza in 1887.
In the 1891 census Charles and Eliza are living at 28 Staple Gardens with 4 children and Eliza’s widowed father. Charles is 33 and working as a foreman to a railway carrier. William was born a year later in 1892.
In the 1901 census the family is living at 63 Upper Brook Street. Charles, now 44, is a foreman for railway agents. Eliza is 34 and looking after 6 children including William, aged 9. Two of the children have left home.
Ten years later in the 1911 census, Charles is working as a carman to a railway carrier. The family is still living at 63 Upper Brook Street. Eliza states that she has had 9 children, two of whom have died. William is 19 and working as a butcher’s delivery boy. William’s mother Eliza died a few months later, aged only 45.
William joined the 6th Battalion (Service) Dorsetshire Regiment with the regimental number 10995. Other records state that he was in the 1st Battalion, but looking at the dates of his service, it is clear that he was actually in the 6th Battalion.
The 6th Battalion was formed at Dorchester on 6th September 1914, and William is recorded as having enlisted in that month in Southampton. In March 1915 the battalion moved to Romsey. There are no service records for William, but his medal card states that he entered a theatre of war on 13th July 1915. The 6th Battalion was mobilised for war on 14th July 1915 and landed at Boulogne. It engaged in various actions on the Western Front including:
- 1915 – Holding front lines in the southern area of Ypres salient.
- 1916 – The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Delville Wood.
- 1917 – The First Battle of the Scarpe, The Second Battle of the Scarpe, The Capture of Roeux, The First Battle of Passchendaele, The Second Battle of Passchendaele.
In December 1915 William went down with influenza and was sent to army hospitals to recover. He was also wounded in March 1917 (no details known).
The Battles of Ypres, also known as Passchendaele, began on 31st July 1917 and ended in November that year. William was recorded as Killed in Action on 13th July 1917, three days before the preliminary barrage began. He had entered a theatre of war on 13th July 1915 and was killed exactly two years later. The circumstances of his death are unknown. He was aged 26.
William is buried at Coxyde Military Cemetery (approx 25 km north of Dunkirk). Coxyde was about 10 km behind the front line. The village was used for rest billets and was occasionally shelled, but the cemetery, which had been started by French troops, was found to be reasonably safe. It became the most important of the Commonwealth cemeteries on the Belgian coast and was used at night for the burial of the dead brought back from the front line.
The Winchester War Register lists William’s three brothers who also went to war but survived. All four brothers lived at 23 Nuns Road.
Charles Herridge received his son’s three war medals in 1919. Charles lived to the age of 75, dying in Winchester in 1931.