William Lincoln

William Lincoln
Born in Hemingford Grey in 1883, William was the third eldest of nine children (two of whom died in infancy) born to William, a self employed shoe maker working from home, and Elizabeth (née Horner). In 1891 the family lived at Church Lane, Hemingford Grey. By 1901 they had moved to Alfred Place, Hemingford Grey. William worked as an agricultural labourer. There was another move by 1911, to 5 Alexandra Place, St Ives. William had a slight change of employment to a market gardener.

William enlisted at Huntingdon with the Hunts Cyclists. He was subsequently transferred to the 14th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Landing at Boulogne in November 1915, he was immediately in the thick of battle at the Front. William's Battalion took part in the Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest battles in history in which three million men fought, of whom one million were wounded or killed.

The Battle of Guillemont took place from 3 to 6 September 1916. William's Battalion and the 2nd Battalion, King's Own Scottish Borderers (KOSB) objective was to capture Falfemont Farm and a section of the Germans' main line prior to the main attack. Without this being achieved, the subsequent French main attack would be subject to enfilade machine gun fire.

Falfemont Farm 1916
The attack on Falfemont Farm as printed in the Illustrated London News of 23 September 1916
The KOSB's first advanced and were lost to sight. No message was received of their success or otherwise. William's own Battalion then attacked. They discovered the KOSBs had failed to capture their objective and came under concentrated German machine gun and rifle fire from Falfemont Farm. They found it impossible to advance any further, took heavy casualties and began to 'wither away'. Part of the attack was described as 'advancing at the walk, as if on parade, under particularly violent artillery fire'. Casualties were 143 killed or missing, 159 wounded.

It was during this operation that William was posted missing, as reported by the Hunts Post on 10 November 1916. His family would have had an agonising wait, possibly for months, hoping to receive a postcard confirming he was a prisoner of war. Some time later William was confirmed killed in action on 3 September 1916, aged 35yrs. He has no known grave, and is commemorated at the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

Do you have a photograph of William or any additional information? If so, please get in touch via the make contact page.

Source materials
Click any of the links below to view original source materials.
1891 Census
1901 Census
1911 Census
War diary, 14th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
Medal Rolls Register
Commonwealth War Graves Register
Commemorative Certificate


  1. Thanks for sharing this! William was my great uncle (his brother - Alfred Lincoln - was my grandfather and not much was known about my grandfather's family up until a few years ago through me grinding through some online research for the family tree.)

    1. Thank you Jason. Hope it was an interesting read. If your family has a photo of William to add to the article that would be great. Always think it so sad that many of these heroes remain faceless. Regards, John