Sergeant William Edwin Collins

Regiment:  Royal Army Service Corps
Service No:  M2/221661
Date and place of birth:  4th qtr 1884 in West Meon, Hampshire
Date and place of death:  31 October 1918 in Cambridge

Family background

In 1881 Edwin Collins was aged 18 (sic) living at East Meon and working as an agricultural labourer. In 1891 he was 31 (sic) married to Rosina, nee Stares (28) and living, together with his widowed mother-in-law Mary (59), at 16 and 18 Trafalgar Street, St Johns, Portsmouth and working as a hammerman. By 1901 the family had moved to 29 Windsor Road, Petersfield, Hampshire and Edwin Collins was working as a carpenter for a builder. William Edwin Collins, at this time, was 17 and working as an upholsterer. He had three brothers: Arthur (15), a butcher boy, Frederick (11) and Sidney (6) and one sister Dorothy aged 4.

In 1911 William Edwin Collins was aged 27, working as a brewer’s drayman and living at 55 Penns Road, Petersfield, Hampshire with his wife Rosa Ellen (21) and one son William Edwin George Collins, born 29 June 1910.  Rosa Ellen, nee Humphrey, was born at Buriton on 8 March 1890 and married there on 6 March 1909. When he enlisted in 1916 his address was 8 Railway Terrace, Midhurst, Sussex. He was working as a tractor driver and a second child, Gladys Rosa Bessie was born on 25 June 1911.

Military service

He enlisted at Horsham as William Edward Collins and joined the mechanical transport depot of the Army Service Corps at Grove Park, Lee, London SE on 7 June 1916.

He was appointed Sergeant as from 25 July 1917 and at one time was serving at Bedford.  Little other evidence was found of his movements.

Death & commemoration

His death from influenza occurred on 31 October 1918 at 1st E.G Hospital, Cambridge.  His age was 36 and he had served 2 years and 61 days. He is buried in Midhurst Cemetery, grave number 641. He is commemorated on Midhurst War Memorial and Memorial Panels in Midhurst Parish Church.

Gravestone in Midhurst Cemetery
Gravestone in Midhurst Cemetery


Subsequent family history

His widow was granted a pension from 1919.  She subsequently married Frederick(?) Gamblen in 1920.  She died in 1976 aged 86 in the Chichester district.

William Edwin G Collins died in 1971 aged 61 in the Chichester district.

Gladys Rosa Bessie Collins married Roland J L Ohlschlager Boxall in 1937 and she died in 1965 aged 54 in the Midhurst district.

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project