William Bellamy

royal fusiliers regimental badgePrivate GS/66507, 32nd (Service) Battalion (East Ham), Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment), (previously Tr/6/1920, Training Reserve Brigade), killed in action, 19th September 1917, aged 23.

Born at Crowle in 1894, William was the youngest of the four children of John William and Louisa Bellamy (nee Boldy). His father was from Crowle and his mother from Norton, Yorkshire. When William was born they were both still farm workers but by 1911 his father was running his own farm in Broad Fleet with William a ‘famer’s boy’ helping him. His father was also a long serving member of Crowle Town Council.

William attested in the army at Scunthorpe, post 1st September 1916 as he did his initial training with the Army Training Reserve at Brocton Camp, Cannock Chase. Following completion of his training, William was posted to the 32nd Battalion, Royal Fusiliers. Formed by the Mayor and Borough of East Ham in September 1915, the battalion had been serving in France since May 1916. In action on the Somme at Flers-Courcelette and Transloy Ridge, early 1917 had seen them at Messines. They were not involved in the early weeks of the Third Battle of Ypres but were called into action for the Battle of the Menin Road, which was planned for 20th September 1917.

In preparation for the attack on the Menin Road the 32nd Royal Fusiliers moved up to Mount Sorrell from Ridge Wood through the evening and early morning of the 18th and 19th September. The German artillery suspecting movement laid down artillery fire in their path and the battalion suffered 20 casualties getting into position. On the next night, the evening and early morning of the 19th and 20th September, they moved further along the line to their assembly position in Shrewsbury Forest ready for the attack the next day, during which they suffered a further two casualties.

One of the casualties suffered in the preparations for the Battle of the Menin Road was William Bellamy. Most likely buried at the time in a battlefield grave the site of which is now lost, William is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial. During the subsequent disastrous attack on the Menin Road he was joined by over 300 of his comrades.

William is also commemorated on the family memorial stone in Crowle Cemetery, the plaque to former members of the congregation and Sunday School in Crowle Methodist Chapel and on the Royal Fusiliers Memorial, Holborn.