William Henry Oughtibridge

royal garrison artillery badgeGunner, 14300, 261st Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, killed in action, 27th August 1918, aged 40

Born at Wendover, Buckinghamshire in 1878, William was one of six children of Thomas and Sarah Ann Oughtibridge. His father was from Crowle and mother from Cawthorpe, near Louth. From at least 1885 the family lived in Bradford where Thomas was a tram driver. In 1901 William was an overlooker at one of the woollen mills in Leeds.

By 1911 his parents had returned to Crowle where they lived in Cross Street, however William was still living in Bradford, lodging with his brother Thomas and his sister-in-law. Both brothers worked as mechanics on the Bradford City Tramways. In Crowle his father was a stationary engine driver until his death in 1912.

William may have moved to Crowle to be with his widowed mother or he may have just given her address for convenience when he attested for the army, stating his trade as a handyman labourer, at Leeds on 5th March 1917, a month before his 39th birthday. From Leeds he was posted to No 4 Depot Royal Garrison Artillery at Ripon for training as a Gunner with a siege battery. The training completed he was posted to 373rd Siege Battery RGA where he would have served alongside Alfred Parkin.

William embarked for France with the 373rd Siege Battery on 26th June 1917, three days after having a new pair of dentures fitted. They saw very little action as the battery was broken up around 9th July 1917 with Alfred and William both among the section posted to 261st Siege Battery RGA.

In August 1918 the 261st Siege Battery was stationed near Poperinge. On 27th August William was with a fatigue party unloading ammunition for the battery, when a German shell hit the trailer they were unloading. All eleven members of the team, including William Oughtibridge, were killed instantly. They are buried together in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery.

William’s younger brother Frederick Oughtibridge served in the Tank Corps.