Private, 1/6th Battalion, Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment. Service number 265409.
William was born on 13th January 1898 in Bingley. His parents were Skirrow and Sarah Helen (Ellen) Wardman née Cooper, who were married at Bingley Parish Church in 1890.
Skirrow (senior) was a warehouseman although he also worked as a carter of coal and bricks. William was baptised along with his sister Mary Lavinia and brothers Skirrow and Arthur, at All Saint's Church, Bingley on 12th September 1900. At the time they were living at 16, Bradley Street, Bingley.
They were still there in the 1901 Census although there is no mention of Arthur at that time.
Their father Skirrow died in 1903 aged 38.
By the time of the 1911 census, William was 13 and living at 10, Cannon Street, Bingley with his widowed mother, sister Mary (17) brothers Skirrow (15) and younger sister Louisa J. aged 8. William was a doffer at a worsted mill. This census records that Skirrow and Sarah had produced eight children but that four had died.
William was a member of the Bingley Territorial Company and was mobilised early in the war. He wasn't sent out to France until November 1916 which was at the end of the Battle of the Somme period.
William was killed in action on 25th April 1918 when a German shell scored a direct hit on the stable he was in, killing him and Private Arthur Dinsdale instantaneously. They were buried side by side in Plot II, Row K of Poperinghe New Military Cemetery in Belgium, with William in grave 6 and Arthur in grave 7.
Additional Info Son of Skerrow(sic) and Sarah E. Wardman, of 12, New Russell St., Bingley, Yorks.
The personal inscription from his mother and siblings says 'HOW WE MISS HIS SMILING FACE. NO ONE CAN EVER FILL HIS PLACE FOR HIS MOTHER.'
1/6th Battalion Duke of Wellinton's West Riding Regimental war diary:
Poperinghe. April 25, 1918. 9 am.
Enemy continued shelling of Poperinghe during the morning & shell fell in stables killing 2 grooms & severly wounding 5 others. Two horses were hit & had to be destroyed.
Keighley News 11th May 1918, page 3 (includes photo):
BINGLEY AND DISTRICT.
Private W. F. Wardman (20), West Riding Regiment, of New Russell Street, Bingley, was killed by a shell on April 25 in France, his death being instantaneous. Company Quartermaster-Sergeant B. Thompson, writing to Mrs. Wardman, says: "He will be greatly missed by the men of B Company, for his work as a stretcher bearer brought him in contact with all the men and his last tour in the line proved him to be a splendid soldier and a man to be trusted when things looked bad." As a member of the Bingley Territorial Company, he was mobilised at the outbreak of war, and had been out in France for seventeen months. Before the war he was employed as a woolcomber at Bowling Green Mills, Bingley, by Mr. J. H. Beaver, Spinner.
Keighley News May 18, 1918, page 3:
Private Arthur Dinsdale, West Riding Regiment, whose wife resides at Hermit Hole, Ingrow, has been killed. His officer, writing to Mrs Dinsdale, states: "He was killed by shell-fire, and his horse was killed with him. I was at the place very shortly afterwards, and I can say that he suffered no pain. His comrades buried him in a military cemetery close by. He was one of my best men, always cheerful and willing no matter what hour of the day or night he had to turn out. I feel that I have lost a friend as well as a most loyal helper." Private Dinsdale was a Keighley Territorial.
William was posthumously awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal for his war service. These would have gone to his mother Sarah along with a Great War Memorial Plaque and the King's Certificate.
Sarah, as sole legatee of his will, received his remaining back pay of £11 11s. 9d on on 7th October 1918 and a war gratuity payment of £17 10s 0d. on 25th November 1919. This war gratuity amount calculates back to his mobilisation at the start of the war in August 1914.
William's mother seems to have had a dependant's pension for a while, but she married William Hutton in Keighley in October 1920 and this would probably have resulted in the withdrawal of this pension around that time.
William Wardman is remembered on the Bingley War Memorial at Myrtle Park in Bingley, West Yorkshire.
England and Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915
West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1910
1901 England Census
1911 England Census
Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929
UK, World War I Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in the Great War
Keighley News archives at Keighley Library
Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment war diary WO95 2801-4
Pension record cards, Western Front Association.
Ordinarily Private William Frederick Wardman would not be eligible for our research because he is not connected with Keighley and the Worth Valley. However, he was a comrade of Private Arthur Dinsdale who was one of our local men, and they died together and are buried together in Belgium.