Fitter William Henry Werry

Regiment:  Royal Field Artillery
Service No:  90253
Date and place of birth: 2nd qtr 1887 in Midhurst, Sussex
Date and place of death: 19 January 1916 in France and Flanders

Family background

William Henry Werry was baptised in Midhurst Parish Church 22 June 1887. He was the eldest son of William and Kate Werry who had married in Brighton, Sussex, in 1883. Kate, born in Westbury, Wiltshire in 1862 was a daughter of Henry and Catherine Kent who, in 1881, were living at 57 North Street, Brighton, with five other younger children. William Werry was born in Croydon, Surrey in 1858.  In 1881 he  was a schoolmaster boarding at 6 Clarence Gardens, Brighton.

In 1891, William Werry was schoolmaster at the National School, Midhurst. This elementary school was on the outskirts of the town in Petersfield Road opposite the Half Moon public house.  Living there with him was his wife Kate, their son William Henry (5), and two of Kate’s brothers: Charles (16) and Arthur (12).

By the time of the 1901 census the family had moved to Carron Lane, Midhurst.  Living there were William (43), schoolmaster and organist, Kate (39), their four children: William Henry (13), Lucy (9), Alan Frederick (7) and Charles Edward (4), together with Gertrude Carver (16), a general servant.

By 1911 William Werry was Headteacher at the Elementary School and still living in Carron Lane with Kate and four sons. Another boy, Arthur Stanley was born in 1902 and Lucy was living at a drapery business in Putney. William Henry (23) was a mechanical engineer, Alan (17) was a law clerk and the two younger boys were at school.

Military service

William Henry Werry enlisted in London and first served in France from 30 August 1915. He served with the Royal Horse Artillery and the Royal Field Artillery. The Royal Artillery was formed to provide artillery or gunnery support to the British Army and was divided into two: the Garrison Artillery or Field Artillery (RFA). The RFA was split into three batteries – the Horse, Field or Mountain Batteries. The Field Battery had their HQ in Woolwich and there were several batteries stationed around Britain. In a war situation three batteries would form a brigade and be attached to an infantry division. Each battery normally consisted of horse drawn (both four and eight horse) rigs pulling 15 pounder field guns, together with all the personnel and equipment needed to keep them fully operational and in perfect fighting condition: hence the rank of Fitter. This would suggest that William Werry was responsible for the maintenance and assembly of the guns and their carriages or limbers.

He was awarded Victory, British and 1915 Star medals.

Death and commemoration

He died of wounds on 19 January 1916 in France and Flanders and is buried in Railway Dugouts Burial Ground (Transport Farm), Grave I.J.12. He is commemorated on Midhurst War Memorial, Memorial Panels in Midhurst Parish Church and on the Board in Midhurst Rother College.

Subsequent family history

The Memorial Panels in the church list two of William Henry’s brothers as serving in the war: Alan Frederick Werry (1894-1967) and Charles Edward Werry (1896-1988) who was a Sapper in the Royal Engineers (94901).

Kelly’s Sussex Directory (1930) records that Alan Werry was ‘relieving officer & vaccination officer for Midhurst district & registrar of births, deaths and marriages for Midhurst sub-district.’ He lived at 7 Little Ashfield. William Werry was the organist at Midhurst Parish Church and still living in Carron Lane.

Their father William died in Chichester in 1933, aged 75, and their mother Kate in 1946, aged 84, in Midhurst.


Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project