William Henshall

William was born on the 27th February 1896, in one of the cottages at Cottons Bridge. His father William was a porter on the wharf, and his mother, Elizabeth, was the daughter of the wharf’s engine driver, Peter Valentine.

At the outbreak of hostilities,  he enlisted at Frodsham and he first joined the Monmouthshire Regiment, before being transferred to the 5th Battalion, South Wales Borderers.

The Battalion, a pioneer force, was vital not only for active fighting duties but for the infrastructure of trench warfare. William and his comrades were engaged in building plateways and roads, in maintaining trenches and in tunnelling.

In early 1916 the Battalion was sent to Ypres and took part in the battles of Albert, Ponzieres Ridge, Ancre Heights and Ancre, as well as the attack on High Wood.

In April the Battalion joined the offensives for Arras. This was conducted in phases, and one such phase was at Scarpe. On the 3rd May, 1917, the British launched one part of a two-pronged attack that was intended to drive the enemy East, however the toll was too high and the attack called off the following day.

The Battalion carried on their maintenance work under fierce shelling and, on the 6th May, William was killed in action when the cavalry barracks were shelled. He was 21.

He lies buried at the Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery.

5th Battalion, South Borderers war diary