Born: 1883, Ipswich.
Died: 5th December 1914; age 31; Died of Wounds received the previous day – No. 8 Clearing Hospital, Bailleul.
Enlistment Location: Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk.
Date of Entry Therein: 15th August 1914.
Rank: Company Quartermaster Sergeant; Service Number: 5845
Regiment: Suffolk Regiment, 2nd Battalion.
Medals Awarded: Victory, British War & 1914 Star + Clasp.
Relatives Notified & Address: Son of the late Mr & Mrs J. Sawyer; husband of Letitia R. Sawyer, of 50, Risbygate Street, Bury St. Edmunds.
1891 30, Elliott Street, Ipswich.
William was 8 years old and living with his mother, siblings & nephew.
Emma Elizabeth Sawyer (nee Fitch), 43, born Woodbridge, Suffolk.
Violet Elizabeth Sawyer, 21, a Corset Worker, born Woodbridge.
Alice Harriet Sawyer, 19, a Corset Worker, born Woodbridge.
Robert James Sawyer, 15, an Errand Boy, born Ipswich.
Edith Ellen Sawyer, 11, born Ipswich.
Ethel Elizabeth Sawyer, 10, born Ipswich.
Emily May Sawyer, 5, born Ipswich.
William Frederick A. Sawyer, 3, born Ipswich.
1901 Depot Suffolk Regiment, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk.
William was 18 years old, a Soldier ranked Private in the Suffolk Regiment – Infantry.
1911 Goojerat Barracks, Station Hospital, Circular Road, Colchester, Essex.
William was 29 years old, a Soldier ranked Corporal in the Suffolk Regiment.
William’s father was Robert Sawyer, born 1848, Woodbridge, Suffolk – a Baker & Confectioner.
In 1912, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, William married Letitia Rosalind Witton, born February 1886, Thetford, Norfolk. They had 1 child.
Suffolk Regiment, 2nd Battalion:
Regimental records show: The 4th of December saw two accidents in the trenches, one being a trench collapse due to weather conditions killing two men. The other being a bomb which was being examined exploded killing A/Sgt. E. W Dunn and severely wounding C.Q.M.S Sawyer, Sgt.Place and Pte H.Chinnery.
Harry Wisbey was born in Nayland, Suffolk, in 1876. He had served as a soldier in the Boer War before being accepted as an Army Scripture Reader in 1900. His role was to travel with a regiment both on home and active service, distributing gospels and testaments, and talking with the men about Christ. He was attached to the 2nd Suffolk Regiment, which was sent as part of the British Expeditionary Force to Belgium in the autumn of 1914. There he witnessed the Retreat from Mons and the distress of the Belgian refugees. As he held no official army position, merely being allowed to accompany them, he received no rations or shelter, and had to rely on the kindness and goodwill of the soldiers to survive. His faith was very intense, and he was fortunate to escape with his life, and with the precious diary he had kept recording his experiences.
Harry was placed under the wing of William as he was the Quartermaster, several references are made to Williams kindness as well as Pte H.Chinnery. Chinnery was described as their appointed cook, but also described as “a very carless man” possibly as a reference to his cooking.
The second battalion left Ireland and landed in France. They travelled to the fast moving front, arriving at the Battle of Mons and the retreat to the Battle of Le Cateau where the 2nd Suffolk’s made their stand to halt the German advances taking massive casualties.