Sapper William Edward Harraway

Date of Birth 25 July 1896
Age at Death 21
Date of Death 23 April 1918
Service Number 146186
Military Service 205th Field Company, Royal Engineers
Merton Address 1 Lime Tree Cottages, London Road, Mitcham
Local Memorial Mitcham War Memorial

Additional Information

William was born in Brixton on 25 July 1896 and in 1901, he lived at 1 Lime Tree Cottages, London Road, Mitcham with his father James, a gas fitter, and his mother Betsy, along with his siblings, Kate, John, Fred and Nellie. William had been baptised on 4 October 1896 at the church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Mitcham. In 1911 the family were still at 1 Lime Tree Cottages, Mitcham and had grown with the addition of Bettie and Louie.

When William enlisted on 5 February 1916 he was still living at Lime Tree Cottages and was, like his father, working as a gas fitter. He signed a Short Service (for the duration of the war) attestation at Southwark Town Hall and became a sapper in the Royal Engineers, service number 146186. From his Service Records we can see that William was 5’ 7” tall, weighed 130 lbs., his chest fully expanded was 36, “with an expansion of 2 ½ “. He had 3 vaccination marks on his left arm from infancy, his vision 6/6 for both eyes and his physical development was good. There is also a recommendation that William should serve with his elder brother, John, a corporal in the Royal Engineers at Chatham. Because William was proficient as a gas fitter he was awarded 1/-(5p) a day extra pay.

William was posted to D Company, No.1 Reserve Battalion for training at Chatham soon after his enlistment. After completing his training he was transferred to 205th Field Company were he served in France. The records show that he was granted leave in the UK on 7 September 1917 and it seems that he was in hospital from 28 December 1917 until 4 January 1918 when he re-joined his unit. William was wounded in action on 20 April 1918 and died as a result of the wounds on 23 April 1918.

William is buried in Martinsart British Cemetery, 150km south of Calais. The inscription on his headstone reads “Rest In Peace”.

William’s possessions consisting of 2 wallets, letters, card and photos and a metal ring were sent to his mother, as were his medals, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. His mother also received 12/3 from William’s outstanding pay.

William is remembered on the Mitcham War Memorial.


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