Ipswich War Memorial and Cenotaph


Born: 1897, St. Clement’s, Ipswich.

Died: 3rd May 1917; age 21; Died of Wounds at No. 142 Field Ambulance.

Residence: Ipswich.

Enlistment Location: Camberwell, South London.

Date of Entry Therein: 23rd June 1915 – France.


Rank: Lance Corporal; Service Number: 19047

Regiment: Machine Gun Corps, Infantry, 37th Coy.


Medals Awarded: Victory, British War & 1915 Star.


Grave Reference:


Faubourg D’Amiens Cemetery,




Relatives Notified & Address: Son of Thomas James & Frances Burton, of Ipswich, and brother to Frederick J. Burton, of 22, Back Hamlet, Ipswich.




1901   3, Little Baker Street, Ipswich.


William was 3 years old and living with his widowed mother, brothers, step sister & maternal grandmother.

Frances Burton (nee King), 38, a Tailoress, born Rushmere St. Andrew, Suffolk.

Annie Laura Burton, 16, a Boot Machinist, born Ipswich.

Frederick James Burton, 10, born Ipswich.

(Jack) John Thomas Burton, 8, born Ipswich.

Thomas James Burton, 1, born Ipswich.

Elizabeth King, 75, a widow, born Palgrave, Suffolk.


1911   St. John’s Home for Boys & Girls, Bloomfield Street, Ipswich.


William was 13 years old, he and his 11 year old brother Thomas were Inmate’s at the Workhouse for children.


St John’s Children’s Home

A separate home for pauper children was first proposed by Ipswich Union in around 1870. This was an unusual step for non-metropolitan unions at this time, and may have been the result of space shortage at the Great Whip Street workhouse. Plans were produced in 1871 and 1873 for a long building with a central block flanked by separate wings containing boys’ and girls’ accommodation. The building, eventually erected at Bloomfield Street in 1879, accommodated 80 boys and 50 girls. The boys were taught to work on the land, and in tailoring and shoe-making. The girls were taught needlework and other household skills to equip them for domestic service. A small infirmary was later added.

William’s father was Thomas James Burton, born 1865, Ipswich – died 1900, Ipswich. He was a Stationary Engine Driver.

William’s mother Frances Burton died 1908, Ipswich.


Soldiers’ Effects to Frederick J. Burton, John T. Burton, and Thomas J. Burton – brothers, and Annie L. Mortimer (wife of Charles Chaston Mortimer) – step sister.

William’s step sister Annie Laura Burton’s first husband Ernest Richard Chason also died during the war on the 10th May 1915 from wounds at No. 4 General Hospital, Versailles, France.



The Machine Gun Corps was formed in October 1915 as the machine gun proved to be held affective as infantry support in trench warfare. Cavalry and Motor branches, followed in 1916 by the Heavy Branch. A depot and training centre was established at Belton Park in Grantham Lincolnshire also a training base depot at Camiers in France .the men were trained to a higher technical standard, capable of stripping down and mending the guns in the field.

The Machine Gun Corps had 62,049 casualties, including 12,498 killed out of 170,500 officers and men earning it the nickname ’the Suicide Club’ manly as machine guns were static or fix positions becoming prime targets for the enemy.


Machine Gun Corps, Infantry, 37th Coy:http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/machine-gun-corps-in-the-first-world-war/


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