Service: 9th Battalion, The Royal Sussex Regiment.
Service No: G/4065
Date and place of birth: 1893, Rogate, Sussex.
Date and place of death: 1 October 1915, (aged 22) Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France.

 William Dawtrey was born in Rogate and lived in Slade Lane. His brother Ernest was to die later in the War.

Family background

In 1901 William Dawtrey lived at Vicarage Farm in Slade Lane. He was the eldest of seven children of William Dawtrey, who was born in Portfield, Chichester, a farm labourer and his wife Ann who was born in Rogate. William [senior] and Ann were living at Vicarage Farm in 1891, having married in 1890 but at that time had no children.

The family still lived in Slade Lane in 1911 but Ann, his mother, had died in 1908. On the 1911 Census forms the name is spelt as ‘Dawtery’. At this time William is described as being a Shepherd.

Military service

William enlisted in Chichester on. He joined the 9th Battalion of The Royal Sussex Regiment. The 9th Battalion was formed in Chichester in September 1914. After formation the Battalion went into camp on the South Downs around Brighton. Here it became part of the 73rd Brigade of 24th Division. In December 1914 the Battalion moved to Portslade and in April 1915 to Shoreham. In June 1915 a further move was made to Woking, in Surrey before landing in France at Boulogne on 31 August 1915.

Within a few weeks of arrival in France the Battalion was involved in the Battle of Loos and suffered heavy losses. William died in action during this battle.

Death and commemoration

William Dawtrey was killed in action on 1 October 1915 in the Department du Nord area of France. He is commemorated in the Phalempin Communal Cemetery, 8 kilometres south-west of Lille, and on the Rogate War Memorial.

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project