William Dent – an early casualty


Private 15/1593 1st Leeds Pals

1881: Henry Dent, a licensed victualler from Nottingham, married Mary Lindley, in Leeds in March 1881. They had five children, Annie E, Eva, Harold, Dorothy M and William, all born in Leeds and all of whom survived. In

1891: the family was living at the Harrison Arms, Harrison Street, Leeds. (Find My Past 2015)

1895: William was born in June, and in September of the same year Henry died. (Free BMD 2015)

1901: So by the 1901 Census Mary was listed as a widow, with no occupation. The two older girls were both dressmakers, and Mary had taken in two boarders, an electrical engineer and a journeyman carpenter, presumably to boost the family income. They also had Phyllis Irene Dent, age 6 months, grand-daughter. They had moved to 19 Grafton Street, Leeds. Presumably the Harrison Arms went with Henry’s job.
It is not clear whose daughter Phyllis was. The sons were too young, William certainly, and even, probably, Harold at 12, and the two older girls were both listed as single.

1911: On the 1911 Census only Dorothy and William were still at home, which was now 20 Cobden Place, Leeds, and William was listed as a pork butcher. The two boarders were gone, Phyllis was now at ‘cripple school’, and Ann Lindley, Mary’s mother, was living with them. (Find My Past 2015)

1914: When the war started William was 19, old enough to have enlisted straight away had he wanted. Perhaps he felt responsible for supporting the family.

1915: It seems likely from his army number that he did not join up until mid-1915. Unfortunately his Service record has not survived. He enlisted at Colsterdale, where he did his initial training, and he was posted to A Company, No.2 Platoon, 8th Section. He was sent to Egypt, where he arrived on 22nd December 1915, and

1916: he was probably sent to France with the battalion in 1916, to prepare for the Battle of the Somme. He was wounded, most likely before the battle had even begun, since he was sent home and died of sickness resulting from his wounds, on 9th July 1916. He was buried in Lawnswood Cemetery and is commemorated on the War Memorial there, where he is listed as the son of Mary Dent of 26 Cobden Place, Leeds, and the late Henry Dent. He was 21. (Find My Past 2015) (Commonwealth War Graves Commission 2015)

He was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. (Ancestry 2015)

Researcher: Peter Taylor

Please Note:

  • All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
  • Please refer to our Glossary of Terms for further information on the terms and phrases used in this post.

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