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Remembered Today:

15 Year Old


andrew pugh

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Hi, hope you are all safe and well

I have just been looking through the casualty list for Five Points Cemetery, Lechelle, Northern France and noticed that there is a casualty by the name of William Chadwick which is an Alias. His real name is William Hesford, Private 6371 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers who was killed on the 15/09/1918 aged just15. The part I cannot understand is that he was an American. Son of William and Emma Hesford 81 Boylston Street, Jamaica Plain, Boston Massachusetts, USA. How did he get over here to join up at that age? Its amazing that they eventually found out his real name., because there is a family inscription on his headstone.

Regards

Andy

 

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35 minutes ago, andrew pugh said:

His real name is William Hesford, Private 6371 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers

 

Service number appears to be 76371.

https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/275450/WILLIAM HESFORD/

Soldiers Died in the Great War shows him as born Indianapolis, U.S.A. and enlisted Boston, U.S.A., which seems strange.

 

There are no obvious surviving service records for him.

 

A quick run through of Royal Welsh Fusiliers service numbers from 76360 to 76380 only brought up the following matches.

 

76363 Gwilym James Roberts, SWB MiC shows enlisted 24th February 1918.

76364 Rees E Jones. No surviving service records.

76367 Giovanni Albertelli. No surviving service records.

76368 Benjamin Evans later 75180 Royal Defence Corps. Discharged 18/10/1918 No longer physically fit. SWB Roll shows enlisted 21st January 1918.

 

76371 William Hesford

 

76373 Evan Zachariah 16 Bn was admitted 3 General Hospital, Le Treport, with GSW Hand on the 7th November 1918

 

I believe from the civil records he is actually the William Ahlgren Hesford who was born on the 7th May 1903 at 22 Cottage Terrace, Boston, the son of John William Hesford, a Shipper, born England, and Emma C W. Hesford, nee Ahlgren, born Sweden. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FXFN-BMT

 

When the birth was registered at the Town Hall, father John was stated to have been born Manchester. England.

https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F4G8-34G

 

The 1910 United States Census shows the 6 year old William A. Hesford living at 585 Broadway, Summerville City, Massachusetts. I think his fathers' occupation is given as a Shipper for a Belting Company, (either that or it's a Betting Company)! John W was then aged 44 and had immigrated to the US in 1892.

As well as wife Emma there were four other children in the household.

https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M2VT-4B5

 

So several paths by which the young William could have ended up in an early grave.

 

If he had relatives over here still, (paternal grandparents, aunts, uncles, he could have been over here prior to the outbreak of war and chosen not to go back.

Through his fathers' business connections he was able to get a crew berth and then jumped ship when he got here.

Stowaway.

Came over with an American unit, deserted and re-enlisted with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

 

Would seem likely he joined up after America had entered the war, so there was larger amounts of shipping going back and forth. Presumably for him to have joined up at the start of 1918 must have involved some degree of identity theft.

 

Interesting story there I'm sure,

 

Peter

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Hi Peter

Thank you for replying. War certainly has some twists and turns to it. What a waste of life, the war was nearly finished he should have stayed at home.

Happy New Year to you, lets hope 2021 has better times ahead.

Regards

Andy 

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1 hour ago, andrew pugh said:

Hi Peter

Thank you for replying. War certainly has some twists and turns to it. What a waste of life, the war was nearly finished he should have stayed at home.

Happy New Year to you, lets hope 2021 has better times ahead.

Regards

Andy 

I agree with your sentiments and have found this a poignant story.  I too enlisted with the RWF aged 15(and 3-months), but the only thing I had to fear was the gimlet eye of veteran NCOs and warrant officers at my boy soldier unit.
It makes me wonder if this was a case of an impetuous young man wanting to break away from the influence of his father, as often seems to happen when hormones are raging.  If so, it was a heavy price to pay, as you have implied.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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There are at least two others with US connections within a few numbers of him. Possibly more given that nil can be found on many numbers (mic's etc)

 

76367   Albertelli Giovanni Mardy nil records seen
76368   xxxxxxx     nil mic  nil records seen
76369   xxxxxxx     nil mic  nil records seen
76370   xxxxxxx     nil mic  nil records seen
76371   HESFORD WILLIAM USA Boston 81 Boylston St, Jamaica Plain  nil records seen
76372   xxxxxxx     nil mic  nil records seen
76373   Zachariah Evan USA New York nil records seen                         see  column N
76374   xxxxxxx     nil mic  nil records seen
76375   Williams Ivor Evans USA Vale Oregon Talybont Cardiganshire      Vale Oregon USA    
76376   xxxxxxx     nil mic  nil records seen
76377   xxxxxxx     nil mic  nil records seen
76378   xxxxxxx     nil mic  nil records seen

 

76375 Williams has records. He enlisted in US. 76373 Zachariah has USA New York on his WO wounded list entry

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Hywyn said:

There are at least two others with US connections within a few numbers of him. Possibly more given that nil can be found on many numbers (mic's etc)

 

76367   Albertelli Giovanni Mardy nil records seen
76368   xxxxxxx     nil mic  nil records seen
76369   xxxxxxx     nil mic  nil records seen
76370   xxxxxxx     nil mic  nil records seen
76371   HESFORD WILLIAM USA Boston 81 Boylston St, Jamaica Plain  nil records seen
76372   xxxxxxx     nil mic  nil records seen
76373   Zachariah Evan USA New York nil records seen                         see  column N
76374   xxxxxxx     nil mic  nil records seen
76375   Williams Ivor Evans USA Vale Oregon Talybont Cardiganshire      Vale Oregon USA    
76376   xxxxxxx     nil mic  nil records seen
76377   xxxxxxx     nil mic  nil records seen
76378   xxxxxxx     nil mic  nil records seen

 

76375 Williams has records. He enlisted in US. 76373 Zachariah has USA New York on his WO wounded list entry

 

 


Very interesting Hywyn.  It makes me wonder how many of the survivors returned to the US.

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