William Henry Read.

. He was a private in the 2/1st HCB and was given the number of 699 and posted to A company. Coming from 3 St. Germain Street, Huntingdon, Huntingdonshire he enlisted at Huntingdon on the 22/10/1914 at the assumed age of 16.

He was posted to the base depot B. E. F. France on 26th July 1916, he was rationed up to and for that day. The order was part 2 No. 171 issued by W. L. Stephenson, 2/Lieut. & acting Adjutant, 2/1st Hunts. Cyclist Battalion.  The order was issued at Well Camp Alford at 8-00 p.m., 28th July 1916.

He went to France on the 26/27th July 1916 as a private in A Co. 2/1st HCB where he was posted to the 1st Bedfordshire Regiment with the number 202636.

He was wounded in 1916 and 1917.  Local newspapers dated 29th September 1916 indicate that: W. H. Reed, Cyclist Battalion, Beds. Regt. , the son of Mr. Reed of Papworth St. Agnes, has been wounded and is now in hospital in Bristol, he is said to be progressing favourably.

He is recorded as killed in action on the 27th September 1918 and is buried Fifteen Ravine British Cemetery Villers, Plouich, Nord France.  He was 20 when killed and had served in Italy.

His name is on the Huntingdon panel in the local church.    William Henry is recorded in some sources as Reed.

Local newspaper record his death:

1-11-1918 = Huntingdon Corporal Killed - Corporal W. H. Read, Beds. Regiment, son of Mr. Read, St. Germain Street, Huntingdon, was killed in action on September 27thth aged 20. When the war broke out he was apprenticed at Messrs. Windover's Works, and although only 16 years of age, he joined the Cyclists. Going to France he was transferred to the Beds. Regiment, and was wounded before he was 17. He had also seen service in Italy, and had only recently returned to France when he was killed. He was to have been promoted to Sergeant very shortly.

2-11-1918 - Corporal W. H. Read, Beds. Regt, son of Mr. Read, St. Germain Street, Huntingdon, was killed in action on September 27, aged 20. When war broke out he was an apprentice at Messrs. Windover's Works, and although only 16 years of age he joined the Cyclists. Upon going to France he was transferred to the Beds. And he was wounded before he was 17. He has also seen service in Italy, and had only recently returned to France when he was killed. He was to have been promoted to Sergeant very shortly.

William was the great uncle of Roy Spencer who provided the following information. 

An extract from the National Roll of the Great War Section XII , Bedford and Northampton.

Read. W. H. 3,St.Germain St. Huntingdon. Corporal, Bedfordshire Regiment. After volunteering in October 1914 in the Huntingdonshire Cyclist Battalion he was later transferred to the Bedfordshire Regiment and proceeded to France where he took part in the heavy fighting in the Somme and Arras sectors. In 1917 he was sent to Italy and was present at the important engagements on the Plave fronts. Returning to the Western Front he was in action at the Battles of Bapaume and Cambrai. He was unfortunately killed on Sept.27th 1918 and was entitled to the General Service and Victory Medals.

Family information indicates that in a letter from the Record Office dated 29 March 1920 includes ......the late soldier is buried at Fifteen Ravine, British Cemetery, just S. of Villiers Plovich, S.W. of Cambrai, France, after exhumation. The re-burial was carried out with all due religious reverence and care..... also included was a photo of the grave.

Other family relics are an Army wallet, endorsed "W. H. Read. A.Coy.1st.Beds." and an Army Prayer Book and a couple of photos-a fresh faced 16 year old and an older man a year or two later.

Many thanks to Roy for the above information.
 

If you can help with any data on this Huntingdonshire Cyclist please contact me at huntscycles@btinternet.com

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09/04/2012

. . Martyn Smith