William Thomas Byrd 1889-1917

28580 Pte 1st Battalion East Surrey Regiment

William Byrd was born in March 1889 in Bridgwater, the eldest son of railway labourer/porter Frederick James Byrd and his wife Mary Louisa Dibble. In 1901 they lived in 106 Wellington Road, two doors down from the home of railway labourer Thomas Byrd, and Eliza Byrd, William's grandparents as well as his two aunts. By 1901 William had a younger sister and the family had moved to 27 Edward Street. By 1911 they had moved back to Wellington Road, this time number 104, a second sister was recorded. William was 22 years old and was working as a tile maker. Either before or during the war he married Lily May Byrd, of 60, St. John Street, Bridgwater.

On 2 December 1914 the Bridgwater Mercury recorded William as one of twenty five in Bridgwater who had joined the Army Service Corps Reserve Company. Sometime during the war he was assigned to the Middlesex Regiment, number 6808, before being moved again to the East Surry Regiment. On 21 November 1917 the Bridgwater Mercury reported 'Private W. T Byrd of Surrey Regiment has been reported as missing since being in action on 4th October'. This was during the Battle of Broodseinde.

His official date of death was recorded as 10 October, although this probably simply marks the date that his 'missing' designation was upgraded to 'dead'. His body was never found. His name can be found on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Panels 79 To 80 And 163a. In 1921 his name was added to the memorial erected for his mother. It is Wembdon Road Cemetery Memorial 768 and the inscription reads: In Loving Memory of Florence Clara Byrd beloved wife of William Thomas Byrd who died May 17th 1921 aged 55 years. At rest. Also of William Thomas Byrd son of the above who was killed in action October 4th 1917 aged 27 years. Thy will be done. Also of the above William Thomas Byrd who died December 15th 1923 aged 64 years.