Image courtesy of IWM.
Born: 16th August 1883, Norwich, Norfolk.
Died: 12th March 1915; age 32; KiA -killed instantaneously by shell while leading his men at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, France.
William served in the ranks of the Suffolk Regiment, and for his gallantry at Mons, when his superior officer having been disabled, he took command of part of the battalion, and brought back 200 men to safety, he was mentioned in Sir John French’s Despatch of the 8th October 1914. He received his commission as 2nd Lieutenant, in December, 1914, from the rank of Company Sergeant-Major.
Rank: 2nd Lieutenant.
Regiment: Manchester Regiment, 1st Battalion.
Pas de Calais,
Relatives Notified & Address: Husband of Mrs Curtis, of 6, Rothsay Mount, Holbeck, Leeds, Yorkshire.
1891 33, Albion Place, Ipswich.
William was 9 years old and living with his parents & siblings.
Ephraim William Curtis, 38, a Dock Labourer, born Monk Soham, Suffolk.
Sabina Curtis (nee Moyse), 30, born Monk Soham.
(Cissy) Chrissana Curtis, 7, born Ipswich.
Ambrose George Curtis, 5, born Monk Soham.
Alice Maud Curtis, 3, born Ipswich.
1901 Garrison Military, Colchester, Essex.
William was 19 years old, a Soldier ranked Private in the Infantry Militia.
1911 Barrosa Barracks, Stanhope Lines, Aldershot, Surrey.
William was 29 years old, a Lance Sergeant, for the 2nd Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment.
On the 16th October 1912, at St. Luke’s Church, Holbeck, Yorkshire, 31 year old, William, a Soldier at Barrosa Barracks, Aldershot, married 31 year old, Mary Ann Phillips, of 6, Rothsay Mount, Holbeck, Leeds, Yorkshire, born 3rd December 1880, Leeds, Yorkshire.
They had 1 daughter:
Vera Annie Curtis, born April 1915, Leeds, Yorkshire.
William was educated at Ipswich. He excelled in cricket and football.
Soldiers’ Effects to Mary Ann Curtis – widow.
William is also remembered on the war memorial at Holy Trinity Church, Ipswich.
The Battle of Neuve Chapelle 10th – 13th March 1915 was the first planned British offensive of the war. The objective was to take the German line at the Village of Neueve Chapelle and break out and head towards the City of Lille, with the main objective taking the Aubers Ridge beyond which was of strategic value. The Battle started well with a heavy bombardment of the German line (more shells fired on this occasion than the entire Boer War) with an advance which successfully took most of the first and second line trenches, but due to poor communications stalled once the village had been taken. The Germans then had time to set up more defensive lines outside of the village and hold the British advance. 40,000 British and Indian troops took part in the Battle with over 10,000+ Casualties.