William Roden

William Roden
Born in St Ives in 1895, William was one of six children born to William, a gardener, and Alice. Three of the six died in infancy. In 1901 they lived in Westwood Road, St Ives. By 1911 the family, minus William's father, lived at 18 Stafford Street, Walsoken, near Wisbech. William worked as a butcher's apprentice. It appears William's father had separated from the family, staying behind at The Waits, St Ives.

William enlisted at the start of the War with the 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment. He was barely out of training before finding himself in the thick of battle in November 1914 during the First Battle of Ypres.

1st Battle of Ypres 1914
British soldiers in hastily constructed trenches during the 1st Battle of Ypres
On Monday 9 November 1914 William's Brigade were in the front trenches engaging the enemy. Heavily outnumbered, they nevertheless made a charge at the Germans. By the end of the day seventeen men were dead or wounded. William was one of those killed in action on that day, aged 19yrs. He has no known grave and is commemorated at Le Touret Memorial, France.

William was the first St Ivian to be killed in the War, also one of the youngest at age 19yrs. His death was reported by the Hunts Post on 11 December 1914 and must have come as a great shock to the town. Private Sid Smith's diary recorded what conditions William experienced and how he died, published in the Hunts Post on 12 March 1915.

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Source materials
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