Image from 1916 Suffolk Chronicle & Mercury newspaper.
Born: 1886, Ipswich.
Died: 27th March 1918; age 32; KiA.
Residence: 10, Arthur Street, Ipswich.
Employed: Blacksmith’s Striker at Messrs. Ransomes Sims & Jefferies, Orwell Works, Ipswich.
Enlistment Location: Ipswich.
Date of Entry Therein: 11th August 1915 – France.
Wounded: Severe wounds in the right thigh received on the 3rd July 1916 – sent to Manchester Hospital for recovery.
Rank: Lance Corporal; Service Number: 319290
Regiment: Suffolk Regiment, 7th Battalion.
Medals Awarded: Victory, British War & 1915 Star.
William was 5 years old and living with his parents & brothers.
William Noah Ladbrook, 42, a Railway Labourer – Plate, born Eaton, Norwich, Norfolk.
Anna Eliza Ladbrook (nee Madderson), 38, born Little Bealings, Suffolk.
(Frank) Francis Madderson Ladbrook, 11, born Ipswich.
Ernest William Ladbrook, 9, born Harwich, Essex.
1901 18, Black Horse Lane, Ipswich.
William was 15 years old, a Striker – Iron Foundry. He was living with his parents & siblings.
William, 52, a Railway Labourer.
Stanley Ladbrook, 9, born Ipswich.
Ethel May Ladbrook, 7, born Ipswich.
Bertie Charles Ladbrook, 5, born Ipswich.
1911 4, Potter Street, Ipswich.
William was 25 years old, a Blacksmith’s Striker – Engineering Works. He was married and Head of the Household.
William’s father, William Noah Ladbrook, died 1910, Ipswich.
In 1909, Ipswich, William married Ellen Eliza Butcher, born 1889, Ipswich. They had 3 children:
William George Ladbrook, born 1910, Ipswich.
Ethel M. Ladbrook, born 1911, Ipswich.
Percy Reginald Ladbrook, born April 1913, Ipswich.
William was a member of the St. John’s Ambulance Brigade.
William’s brother, Francis Madderson Ladbrooke also lost his life in the First World War. He died of Pneumonia on the 25th January 1921, aged 41. Francis was ranked Private/Guardsman, service number 5636, of the Guards Machine Gun Regiment. Francis was laid to rest at the Field of Honour, Ipswich Old Cemetery, Ipswich.
Soldiers’ Effects to Ellen E. Ladbrook – widow.
William is also remembered on the Orwell Works Memorial Ransomes Sims & Jefferies Ipswich.
Suffolk Regiment, 7th Battalion:
On March 20th 1918 the 7th Battalion were enjoying the start of a rest period but within hours the Germans began a major offensive at Picardy. The division having taken up positions in the area of Busnes, receiving orders during the night of the 24th-25th moved south to the Albert sector. Travelling through the night under clear moonlight sky’s while passing through Lillers German aircraft bombed the town taking advantage of the clear skies.
On arrival they were given orders to take up positions along the line of Bazentin-le- Montauban near Fricourt, which was quickly cancelled being ordered back to Albert.
During the morning of the 26th the 7th battalion found itself defending the Albert bridge-heads which had been constructed by the 8th Suffolk’s in 1916.
The German offensive had been pushing forward for five days had pushed all British units to the limit and quoted in the records as “a confused and desperate character” with limited supplies, no artillery or mortar support fighting against overwhelming German numbers.
The 7th positions ran from the train station 300 yards to the Albert-Amiens road which taking up positions at 15:00hrs dug themselves in. By 16:30 the Germans began to advance in waves a lewis gunner coving the approach at 100 yards cause heavy casualties until it was put out of action.
No. 3 platoon “A” company twice beat off the German advance with fire support from No.2 Platoon and the Machine gun corps. Sweeping the bridge head with “deadly effect”
By 22:20 the Germans in strength using mortars and hand grenades crossed the bridge head pushing the 7th out of their forward position, taking just 10 minutes making new machine gun positions in captured buildings west of the bridge.
23:15 “C” company launched a counter attack taking back most of the positions except the bridge head.
No.2 Platoon just before midnight with support from the 5th Northamptonshire Regiment attacked the house and the bridgehead but failed to regain both mainly through lack of grenades and fire support pulling back 300 hundred yards digging in new positions.
By dawn No. 2 platoon was reduced to just 3 men the Battalion had sustained 256 casualties including 12 officers. The 7th Battalion were withdrawn back to Henencourt to rest.